UK Seeks to Recognize Bitcoin and Crypto as Regulated Financial Instruments

The United Kingdom has drawn a step closer to becoming one of the most recognized crypto hubs in the world as the House of Commons, the Parliament, passed the amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Bill which seeks to regulate Bitcoin (BTC) and the cryptocurrency industry.


The Bill was initially proposed when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it seeks to regulate stablecoins. During the Parliamentary meeting, Andrew Griffith, Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs made a proposal to expand the scope of the Bill by including other crypto assets in the scope of regulated financial services in the UK.


“The substance here is to treat them 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,” Griffith said, adding that the new clause 14 in the bill, “clarifies that crypto assets could be brought within the scope of the existing provisions” of the Financial Services Act 2000.


The MPs voted in favor of the amendments and it is now set to be presented at the House of Lords. Should the bill pass there, it will then be required to be signed by King Charles III so as to enshrine it into law.


The excitement that the UK is on track to regulate Bitcoin as a financial instrument has sent shivers down the digital currency ecosystem as evident in the price of some of the biggest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is up 5.97% at the time of writing to $20,561.77 per data from CoinMarketCap, while Ethereum is changing hands at $20,561.77, up 11.21%.

Many market observers are already seeing signs that the Rishi Sunak government will be bullish on crypto, riding on his positive stance on the industry while serving in Boris Johnson’s government. The timeline, however, is what remains unknown.

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Disgraced MP tells Parliament UK can be the ‘home’ of crypto

The former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and current U.K. Member of Parliament (MP) Matt Hancock urged the House of Commons to make England the “home” of crypto.

Hancock has served as an MP for West Suffolk since 2010 but stood down from his role as the Health Secretary in mid-2021 following controversy surrounding COVID breaches tied to an alleged extramarital affair. Which is to say his endorsement, while welcomed by the industry, may not hold as much cachet as it once did.

Following up from his speech at the House of Commons on Jan. 27, Hancock emphasized the disruptive potential of crypto and fintech on Twitter, noting that:

“The UK can be the home of new innovations like FinTech and Cryptocurrency. Done right we can increase transparency and lead in new world-changing technology.”

During his speech, he pointed to the benefits of crypto and fintech adoption in terms of economic stimulation and even financial crime reduction as he urged the government to “ensure” it develops progressive policy in these areas.

“[Fintech and Crypto] can not only be an economic driver, but also help cut fraud and financial crime because of the transparency that it brings,” he said, adding that “these innovations have the potential to disrupt finance, just as social media has disrupted communication, or online shopping has changed retail.”

Hancock’s comments come just a couple of weeks after several MPs and members of the House of Lords banded together to launch the Crypto and Digital Assets Group, which aims to ensure forthcoming regulation of the sector supports innovation as opposed to stifling it.

The group is chaired by Scottish National Party MP Lisa Cameron, who noted around the time of the group’s launch that, “We are at a crucial time for the sector as global policymakers are also now reviewing their approach to crypto and how it should be regulated.”

“We are at a crucial time for the sector as global policymakers are also now reviewing their approach to crypto and how it should be regulated.”

Earlier this week, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond stated that it was “frankly quite shocking” that the U.K. had fallen behind the European Union in providing clear regulation over the crypto sector.

Related: UK Economic Affairs Committee unconvinced by prospect of retail CBDC

Hammond warned that if the government fails to catch up in 2022 and end up “manifestly behind the curve” next year, top U.K. based crypto and blockchain tech firms will look to shift headquarters over to countries with friendlier stances on crypto such as Germany and Switzerland, along with Monaco in France.