The Conservative Party received a donation of £500,000 from a cryptocurrency businessman and lobbyist ahead of the government unveiling a plan to make the country a “hospitable place for crypto”.
First reported by Financial News, the Electoral Commission site showed that two months before Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s “global cryptoasset technology hub” speech, Christopher Harborne, who has established multiple blockchain-based funds and companies, donated funds to the party.
The government announced its plans to support the growth of the UK cryptoasset industry back in April when Economic Secretary John Glen said: “We think by making this country a hospitable place for crypto, we can attract investment, generates waves of new jobs and create a wave of ground-breaking new products and services.”
The plan included the implementation of stablecoins into the UK economy, as well as the minting of a royal NFT.
The cryptocurrency market has since faced a major downturn, with the value of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum plummeting.
A Conservative party spokesperson responded to Financial News by denying any connection between the donation and the chancellor’s endorsement of crypto technologies, saying “government policy is in no way influenced by party donations – they are entirely separate”.
Conservative MP Matt Hancock, the former health secretary who has become a keen advocate for the crypto space, suggested that the donation was coincidental.
“The way policy is made is that the people who support the policies that you put forward often then support you,” Hancock told UKTN.