The United Kingdom’s journey towards comprehensive crypto regulation is rapidly approaching its culmination as the Financial Services and Markets Bill (FSMB) progresses through the final stages of the parliamentary process.
This 340-page bill, initially introduced on September 7, 2022, has garnered significant attention for its potential to shape the future of crypto regulations in the UK. With an emphasis on consumer protection and the country’s ambition to become a global crypto hub, the bill’s approval by the House of Lords marks a crucial milestone. FSMB’s journey began on October 22, 2022, when Andrew Griffith, the financial secretary to the treasury, proposed an amendment that expanded the regulatory scope of the bill.
Originally focused on stablecoins, the amendment sought to encompass all crypto assets, recognizing the need for comprehensive oversight in the rapidly evolving crypto landscape. The UK government’s vision of establishing itself as a leading center for crypto technologies propelled this inclusive approach.
One of the key regulatory bodies in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has been eagerly awaiting the passing of formal legislation to solidify its authority over crypto assets. Currently, digital assets in the country are treated as property under the law. The FCA’s plans to supervise financial firms’ alternative portfolios and publish final rules for promoting crypto assets are contingent on the FSMB’s enactment.
While the FCA does not currently possess jurisdiction over regulating crypto-related businesses, registration is expected to become possible next year. However, the process poses challenges due to anti-money laundering, counterfeiting, and terrorism financing measures.
The UK’s advertising legal authority has been actively monitoring crypto-related advertisements, acknowledging the potential risks associated with crypto assets, albeit without direct regulation.
To enhance its ability to combat illicit activities, a bill proposing the authority to confiscate illegally obtained crypto was presented in the House of Commons in September. Additionally, the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs passed the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) bill on October 10, 2022, further contributing to the evolving global regulatory landscape.
On June 13, 2023, Dr. Lisa Cameron, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and Member of Parliament, emphasized the significance of a report aimed at securing the UK’s leadership position in the crypto industry while prioritizing consumer protection, which was reported by todayq news. This report underscores the role of UK regulators in establishing the country as a global crypto hub.
The commitment of Andrew Griffith, the financial secretary to the UK Treasury, to finalize regulations within the next 12 months reflects the urgency of implementing timely and sensible legislation. The forthcoming FSMB is expected to introduce stricter compliance obligations for businesses operating in the crypto space, with a particular focus on stablecoins and other crypto assets.
With the recent approval of the FSMB by the House of Commons, the bill will now undergo the final stages of Consideration of Amendments and ultimately receive Royal Assent. These processes involve careful scrutiny and potential revisions by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Once Royal Assent is granted, the bill will become law, cementing the regulatory framework for the UK’s crypto sector.
As the UK advances towards finalizing its crypto laws, the global crypto community is closely watching the country’s proactive approach to regulation. The UK’s ambition to strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring investor and consumer protection positions it as a leader in the evolving regulatory landscape. With the support of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has been known for his favorable stance on crypto, there is growing anticipation that the UK will solidify its status as a global crypto hub.
To sum up, the Financial Services and Markets Bill’s progress through the UK parliamentary process brings the nation closer to comprehensive crypto regulation. By expanding the scope of regulation to include all crypto assets, the bill aims to ensure consumer protection and establish the UK as a global leader in the crypto industry.
With the final stages of the parliamentary review underway, the UK is on the verge of implementing a regulatory framework that balances innovation and safeguarding the interests of investors and consumers.