The UK could introduce digital asset regulation within 12 months, a UK lawmaker has said, saying the country wants to capitalize on the benefits blockchain can bring to the private sector and the economy.
In an April 17 CNBC interviewAndrew Griffith, the Economic Secretary of the UK Treasury, said the long-term vision is to “let businesses make the most of the opportunities offered by crypto assets” with strong crypto regulation.
For the first time in ‘decades’, Griffith claimed the UK government is now well placed to regulate crypto in a ‘pragmatic’ and ‘proportionate’ way and appeared to refer to the UK’s exit from the Union European:
“I think over the next 12 months or so is the window. We have this great asset in the UK, we have control of a rulebook – something the UK hasn’t had for decades – so we have the ability to act in an agile and proportionate way.
This has led the legislator to assert that the UK is now in a ‘growth’ mindset to maximize the economic efforts brought about by technological innovation in the private sector.
Griffith explained that the crypto regulatory framework would mix existing financial asset laws with new crypto-specific rules.
“Whenever possible, we want to see the same asset regulated in the same way, but there are additional opportunities in the crypto asset or distributed ledger space and we want to take advantage of them.”
He quoted settlement using secure cryptocurrencies as an example that was in the Financial Services Bill. “So it’s happening even earlier than the broader regulatory framework,” he added.
Griffith said a potential deployment of the The digital currency offered by the UK central bank (CBDC) – dubbed “Britcoin” by the public – has a much longer “time frame” and will therefore not be seen next year.
Griffith added that he wants to see a political debate about privacy and e-book technology “debate” to ensure that all concerns are addressed:
“If you want to have a sovereign digital currency, you need to have the highest level of resilience and infrastructure, so it won’t happen overnight.”
Brian Armstrong, the head of crypto exchange Coinbase, met Griffith earlier this week while in London to deliver a speech on how the UK could “energize” its crypto industry and ultimately become an “innovation hub for the Web3 economy.”
Big meeting today with the UK Economics Secretary and Minister for the City @griffitha.
The UK is moving rapidly towards sensible crypto regulation to boost both economic growth AND consumer protection. Glad to continue investing in the UK. pic.twitter.com/478PQSLmDe
—Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) April 17, 2023
Coinbase’s crypto hub aspirations for Britain are in line with the views of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who explained last year when he was finance minister that he would would like to see the UK become a crypto hub.
Dubai, Singapore and recently Hong Kong are some regions that have made efforts to become crypto hubs.
The United States, on the other hand, has significantly stepped up its crypto-related enforcement actions since then. Gary Gensler was sworn in as Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission in April 2021.