According to information from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), 29 companies have been approved for the regulatory sandbox, with 40 percent of them implementing distributed ledger technologies (DLT). The regulatory sandbox is an initiative put together in the UK designed to give the opportunity for organizations to try out a variety of new products and services in a live market. Companies participating in the sandbox can avoid having to deal with restrictive regulations, all while being subject to various guidelines aimed at protecting consumers. The sandbox is now in its fourth round and is part of a series of initiatives launched by regulatory authorities in the UK aimed at promoting innovation and competition. 69 organizations have applied to participate in the most recent sandbox round, of which 29 have received approval to start testing a wide range of new products and services. DLT is popular among companies taking part in the sandbox, with 40 percent of them applying it. The proposed uses of DLT are multiple. Some companies want to take advantage of it to automatically issue equity or debt, as well as backing insurance provision. Others are planning on deploying DLT to help in the development of application programming interfaces (APIs), geo-location systems, new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The FCA announcement also mentioned that a few companies that received approval for testing operate in the "cryptoassets" industry. The agency intends to take a close look as to whether the solutions provided by these companies are appropriate for customers, all while keeping related risks under control. According to the FCA's Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, Christopher Woolard, the latest edition of the sandbox is the largest today and a "record number" of applicants have succeeded in meeting eligibility criteria. Woolard believes that the regulatory sandbox is very useful in helping companies grow in today's highly competitive business environment. He went on to mention that 90 percent of companies who participated in the first sandbox, which includes several businesses deploying blockchain technology, have moved on to offer their products and services to consumers on the market.
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