of Britain Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced the launch of a permanent version of its digital sandbox.
Based on the success of its testing phase, the sandbox will provide a secure environment for companies to test their products in the early stages of development, the regulator said on its website on Thursday.
digital sandbox Operations began on a trial basis in 2020. It provides companies with access to data sets, application program interfaces (APIs) and data security protections.
During pilot phases, it was used to evaluate sustainability performance including an eco-friendly decentralized ledger.
“Following two successful pilots, our digital sandbox will be made permanently available on 1 August 2023, opening the platform to a wider range of innovative businesses, start-ups and data providers,” the FCA said.
One of the major advantages of sandbox is that developers can test and evaluate their products without any unintended side effects affecting the live environment.
FCA’s offering can also be configured to support a range of distributed ledgers and digital asset use cases, such as building interoperability between networks.
More specifically, the environment can be used to experiment with innovative concepts for the banking, investment, lending, payments, insurance and pension sectors.
Regulators will get an opportunity to observe the technical trials underway in the initial phase.
Digital Sandbox provides access to over 200 datasets
FCA said the digital sandbox provides access to over 200 datasets and over 1,000 APIs for testing and validating their experiments.
These datasets include payment, transaction, social media and credit data.
Furthermore, the watchdog said that the platform has also implemented robust data protection safeguards to allow experimentation while protecting data assets on the platform.
FCA also highlighted the positive results generated from previous participation in the sandbox.
“The digital sandbox serves to foster innovation and growth – more than half of previous small to medium enterprise participants in pilots and TechSprint have seen positive growth, including launching new products, securing funding and partnerships, or receiving industry awards or recognition,” FCA said.
The agency said the approval process for sandbox applicants typically takes up to four weeks.
Participants can apply to the Digital Sandbox starting August 1, and upon approval can use its resources to innovate.
Overall, the launch of the Permanent Digital Sandbox by the FCA provides an opportunity for firms, start-ups and data providers to explore and test new fintech products in a safe and supportive environment.