The United Kingdom has announced its plans to regulate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies within the country.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to grow the economy and enable technological change and innovation – and this includes cryptoasset technology," said Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith. “But we must also protect consumers who are embracing this new technology - ensuring robust, transparent, and fair standards.”
The announcement was expected – around one year ago, UK officials promised to turn the country into a “global hub for crypto.”
Details for that plan remain sparse. The press release, which leans heavily on the words “ambitious” and “robust,” is more focused on intention and the road ahead than it is on methodology.
Still, voices in the UK's crypto community are eager to welcome the official dialogue.
“As the voice of the UK’s crypto sector we welcome this positive step towards greater regulatory clarity," said Ian Taylor of Crypto UK. “Given the provisions within the proposed legislation, consultation with the industry could not be more critical.”
The announcement highlights a few priorities in the months to come, such as the intention for cryptocurrency exchanges and firms to bear the responsibility of ensuring “fair” standards for customers – a red-hot issue as headlines continue to update on the collapse of groups like FTX and Alameda Group under CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
“The proposals will also strengthen the rules around financial intermediaries and custodians – which have responsibility for facilitating transactions and safely storing customer assets,” reads the statement. “These steps will help to deliver a robust world-first regime strengthening rules around the lending of cryptoassets, whilst enhancing consumer protection and the operational resilience of firms.”
Other lines explain the UK's aim to “enhance consumer protection,” while “delivering on the original policy intention,” and “ensuring crypto exchanges have fair and robust standards.”
The consultation (which began on February 1st) will continue until April 30th, 2023, after which the UK government will consider feedback and construct an official response.