And so 4 April 2022 may come to be seen as a pivotal turning point for the future of cryptoassets in the UK. The UK HM Treasury announced that the government plans to make the UK a global cryptoasset technology hub, with a particular emphasis on stablecoins used as a means of payment. The UK Financial Conduct Authority, for its part, published a speech given by Jessica Rusu, its Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer, at the Innovate Finance Global Summit 2022 on how the FCA is “riding the innovation wave”, as well as details of a two-day CryptoSprint in May to inform regulatory policy changes based on evolving technologies.
A welcome shift…
These are most welcome developments that should facilitate positive technological innovation, open up competition providing benefits for consumers in terms of product and service quality and choice, and encourage economic growth. But one may be forgiven for being somewhat surprised by the announcements, given the position adopted so far in the UK in relation to cryptoassets. How does this fit into the story so far, what distinctions are to be drawn, and what is changing?
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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. We want to see the businesses of tomorrow – and the jobs they create - here in the UK, and by regulating effectively we can give them the confidence they need to think and invest long-term. This is part of our plan to ensure the UK financial services industry is always at the forefront of technology and innovation.