Fintech to be Discussed Today in the UK’s House of Lords

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Today in the House of Lords, Lord Holmes will ask an oral question about digital identity. Chris Holmes has been a member of the House of Lords since 2013 and was once described as Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer.

What’s more, in April he repeatedly put forward amendments to the Financial Services Bill to push forward a distributed digital ID. The amendments required the Treasury within six months of the passage of the bill to publish the government’s plans for the development and deployment of a distributed digital identification (“Digital ID”) for individuals and corporate entities in the financial services sector.

Today the question he will be asking of Her Majesty’s Government is what plans they have to introduce a distributed digital identification protocol for the United Kingdom?

On the issue, which Lord Holmes has been campaigning for the benefits of a distributed digital identity for several years, he says: “There is a real prize for the UK here, for us as individuals, corporate and all entities, to trade, to trust, to claim and verify, to lead when it comes to distributed digital ID.”

He also believes that:

  • A successful distributed digital ID must be scalable, flexible and inclusive, capable of deployment and take-up across the entire UK, and capable of adapting to change – not least in new technologies such as quantum computing.
  • A distributed digital ID must be implemented in accordance with the twelve guiding principles if self-sovereign identity [SSI]
  • It is essential to address public distrust of digital ID through a public engagement campaign to raise awareness and participation in the process.

Lord Holmes is the Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Groups on Fintech, AI, Blockchain and 4IR. He is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology and has co-authored Lords Select Committee reports on: Digital Skills, Social Mobility, Financial Inclusion, AI, Intergenerational Fairness and, last year, Democracy and Digital Technologies. He has also authored a report on ‘Distributed Ledger Technology for public good: leadership, collaboration, innovation.’

In his blog, Lord Holmes sets out that “Technology and inclusion are the ‘golden threads’ that run through everything I do. The opportunity provided by emerging technologies and the value of genuine inclusion provide both the practical and philosophical underpins to my work across the public and private sector; including in current roles as Chancellor at BPP University and Deputy Chair at Channel 4.” He won a total of 9 gold, 5 silvers and 1 bronze medal at four Paralympic games between 1988 and 2000 before becoming Director of Paralympic Integration for the London Olympics.

You can find out more about Lord Holmes Digital ID amendments to the Financial Services Bill here.

  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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