The Treasury has outlined a plan to make the UK a “global cryptoasset technology hub”, which will involve new legislation to promote the use of stablecoins and the Royal Mint creating an NFT.
“It’s not going to happen overnight… But 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,” said John Glen, economic secretary for the Treasury, speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit on Monday.
In addition to minting an NFT and “legislating to bring certain stablecoins into our payments framework”, the Treasury said it will create a “financial market infrastructure sandbox” where firms can “experiment and innovate”.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “It’s my ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country.”
Sunak has repeatedly stated that he is seeking to make the UK a leader in innovative financial technologies. However, some in the cryptocurrency industry have said these comments are at odds with the UK’s recent regulatory clampdown in the space.
Last week, cryptocurrency firms said they had been “left in limbo” following the Financial Conduct Authority’s move to tackle money laundering and financial crime in the industry.
The government has said that cryptocurrency regulation is intended to protect consumers.
Glen said: “We aren’t going to lower our standards, but we are going to maintain our technologically-neutral approach. Having robust and effective regulation won’t hinder innovation, it’ll actually boost it – by giving people and businesses the confidence they need to think and invest for the long-term.”
James Kaufmann, a lawyer at Howard Kennedy specialising in crypto regulation, told UKTN:
“It’s good to hear the chancellor setting out his ambition for the UK to be always at the forefront of technology and innovation with regards to cryptocurrencies.”
Kaufmann added: “He will need to get the FCA, which most recently displayed its disinclination towards crypto by missing its own – already extended – temporary registration deadline last week, on side before this can be realised.”
Innovate Finance CEO Janine Hirt said: “This was a landmark speech setting out a vision for the UK to be the leading hub for technology that will transform payments, capital markets infrastructure and ESG assurance.”