Treasury minister says UK could introduce specific laws aimed at regulating cryptocurrency in next 12 months
The UK government has defined its timeframe to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, with new regulations set to arrive in the next 12 months.
This is according to Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to HM Treasury, who was speaking to CNBC on Monday.
The UK government it should be remembered had in February laid out its plans to regulate crypto assets and had opened its suggestions up for consultation. That consultation period ends 30 April.
That came after HM Treasury said last December that it was finalising plans for a package of sweeping rules to regulate the troubled cryptocurrency industry.
The UK is seeking to become a global leader in crypto and blockchain technology, and is considered to have a crypto-friendly prime minister in the form of Rishi Sunak.
As far back as April 2021, the UK also admitted that it was exploring the potential of creating a digital currency backed by the Bank of England.
Then Chancellor (now Prime Minister), Rishi Sunak had asked the Bank of England and HM Treasury to look at the case for a new “Britcoin”, which has seen the joint creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce to “co-ordinate the exploration of a potential UK CBDC.”
Then in January this year Andrew Griffith said that getting the design of a digital pound right is a bigger priority than a rapid launch.
Now this week Andrew Griffith told CNBC that the UK could introduce specific laws aimed at regulating the cryptocurrency industry within the next 12 months.
“We’ve got control back of our rulebook, not something the UK has had for decades,” Griffith told CNBC, referring to the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“So we’ve got the ability to move in an agile and proportionate way. And I’m definitely keen we make the most of that opportunity,” Griffith reportedly said.
Griffith reportedly said that the UK’s regulatory approach would mix both existing regulations and new ones.
“Wherever possible, we want to see the same asset, the same transaction regulated in the same way. But there are some additional opportunities in the crypto asset or distributed ledger space and we want to take advantage of that,” Griffith told CNBC.
Griffith pointed to the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which is currently working its way through Parliament, as an example of where upcoming legislation already includes some provisions on cryptocurrency.
That specific law, which is not yet in force, aims to bring asset-backed stablecoins into the regulatory fold.
Meanwhile other countries including Dubai to Singapore have been trying to position themselves as crypto-friendly locations to encourage firms to set up businesses there.
According to CNBC, the US however has taken a hard line on cryptocurrency firms with its regulators stepping up enforcement action against companies.
That said, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has used existing securities rules to target cryptocurrency firms.
Last September the Biden administration released an initial framework for future regulation of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, seeking to minimise their potential risks while encouraging private sector innovation and international co-operation.
Crypto companies reportedly told CNBC they want clarity around rules and are pushing governments to come up with frameworks for them to operate.