Lawmakers from the House of Commons, the lower chamber of the British parliament, have voted to recognize cryptocurrencies as a regulated financial instrument in the UK, supporting the crypto’s price increase. The move could mark another step towards establishing the UK as a European crypto hub.
The latest development comes amid a turbulent time in UK politics. Earlier this week, Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak was appointed to serve as the country’s prime minister, replacing his predecessor, Liz Truss, after a mere 45 days in the office.
UK lawmakers debated the Financial Services and Markets Bill, a legislative proposal introduced by Sunak when the politician served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
During the parliamentary session, Conservative MP Andrew Griffith submitted an amendment to expand the scope of regulated financial services to cover crypto. Griffith has served as the UK’s Financial Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister since September 2022.
“New clause 14 clarifies that cryptoassets could be brought within the scope of the existing provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 relating to the regulated activities order. The substance is that cryptoassets will be treated like other forms of financial asset: not preferred, but brought within the scope of regulation for the first time. That is the aim of the new clause,” Griffith said, as quoted in the debate’s transcript.
“It will ensure that the Treasury is equipped to respond to developments in the crypto sector more quickly and deliver regulation in an agile, risk-based way that is consistent with our approach to the broader financial services sector,” according to the politician.
Griffith said the objective is to treat “crypto like other forms of financial assets and not to prefer them, but also to bring them within the scope of regulation for the first time”.
The bill’s provisions also comprises measures to cover stablecoins with the existing regulations.
Tulip Siddiq, a lawmaker for the opposition Labour Party, declared during the debate that the bill’s provisions on crypto are “a welcome and important move that will help to prevent high-risk cryptoassets from being falsely advertised to the public.”
Under the country’s legislative procedure, the bill has two more stages to pass in the lower chamber, following which it will be submitted to the House of Lords, the parliament’s upper chamber. If no amendments are introduced by lawmakers, the legislation will subsequently go through final stages before it is signed by King Charles and becomes law.
As of 08:40 am UTC, bitcoin was priced at some $20,699, an increase of 0.48% over a 24-hour period, according to Coinmarketcap.com data.