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UK Parliament opens inquiry into crypto sector

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A cross party group of UK parliamentarians has kicked off an inquiry in the UK’s crypto and digital assets sector.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the UK Crypto and Digital Assets sector is exploring the need for further regulation of the market and inviting feedback from interest stakeholders across the industry, inlcuding crypto operators, regulators, industry experts and Government.

The cross party group, chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP, which is made up of MPs and Lords including the likes of former Digital Minister Lord Vaizey, member of the Treasury Select Committee Harriett Baldwin MP, and former Secretary of State Matt Hancock MP acts as a forum for parliamentarians, policymakers and the UK crypto sector to discuss policy and regulation of the industry.

The terms of the inquiry are expansive, assessing the role of Government and regulators, consumer protection issues and the use of central bank digital currencies.

The APPG inquiry comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the UK crypto and digital asset sector. HM Treasury announced plans earlier this year to make the UK the global home of crypto investment, seeking to attract crypto firms to the UK and to boost the nation’s technology and fintech sector. Research from HMRC in July 2022 also showed that 10% of UK adults said they hold or have held a cryptoasset. That figure is up from 5.7% in January 2021, based on Financial Conduct Authority data.

APPG chair, Cameron says: “We are at a crucial time for the sector as global policy makers are also now reviewing their approach to crypto and how it should be regulated. It’s vital that the UK does not take its foot off the gas and that Government and regulators keep to their commitments when it comes to crypto and digital assets.

CryptoUK, the UK’s independent trade association which represents over 100 members from across the crypto sector, welcomed the move.

Ian Taylor, executive director of CryptoUK, says: “The UK crypto sector recognises the importance of a well regulated industry in the UK and supports regulation which provides business certainty and encourages a healthy and robust market. We want to see a proportionate approach to regulation that balances the need for consumer protection with the need to support innovation and growth.

The launch of the inquiry follows the establishment of two legal taskforces to examine the legislative changes required to support the issuance and transfer of digital securities on blockchain and DLT systems and on the issuance and transfer of digital securities under English private law. Both have the aim of pushing provisional law reform proposals to ensure recognition and protection of digital assets.

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