The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced on Thursday, July 20th, that it will launch a permanent digital sandbox on August 1st, 2023. This platform allows firms to test how their products would perform at an early stage of development by providing access to data sets, application program interfaces (API) and data security protection.
The FCA said that the digital sandbox works to foster innovation and growth, with over half of the Small to Medium Enterprise participants in the pilots and TechSprints making positive developments, including launching new products, securing funding and partnerships, or receiving industry awards or recognitions.
The sandbox offers numerous features that would benefit developers. It provides an integrated development environment that allows experimentation while safeguarding the data assets on the platform. Developers would have access to over 200 synthetic, public or anonymised data sets and over 1000 APIs to enable testing and validation of technology solutions. The observation deck feature allows interested parties such as regulators, incumbents and others to observe in-flight testing at a technical level. It is believed that the sandbox could also promote diversity of thought, share learnings and foster an ecosystem between teams, observers and mentors.
John Glen, the former Economic Secretary, rolled out the plans for the sandbox in 2022 with the aim of making the UK a cryptocurrency innovation hub. The sandbox was available only during pilots and TechSprints, which brought people from the financial industry together to address industry challenges.