Matt Hancock, a Conservative Party MP in the UK parliament, said Britain could create a “dynamic” regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies rather than follow the EU’s restrictive policies.
He noted that this is possible because of Brexit, which offers the country an opportunity to benefit from crypto innovations.
“We now don’t have to just take the EU’s restrictive regulatory regime and instead can design our own that is more dynamic,” Hancock told Express.co.uk in a recent interview.
To a question, if he had invested in bitcoin, the British MP said he hasn’t so far but would consider it now. He noted that blockchain and other technologies have “lots of potential” in areas like making payments and smart contracts. Transparency is in-built in these innovations, he stressed.
Hancock suggested that digital assets have the same potential to disrupt the financial sector as social media has done to communication.
Britain Has a Legacy of a Liberal Regulatory System
Hancock said Britain always had “a liberal regulatory system,” whether it’s about currency trading or the Eurobond market. “So it is natural that with a liberal regulatory system, we should be the home to cryptocurrencies too,” he argued.
The MP for West Suffolk asserted that Britain’s prosperity has always been a leader in terms of financial innovation, including being the first nation to have its central bank.
“Crypto is already here and in use. It’s expanding rapidly in the UK and around the world. We don’t have a choice as to whether it is happening. The choice we have is how we shape it best to benefit people,” he elaborated.
Hancock Suggested a Regulatory Approach
UK policy thinking about cryptocurrencies is still in the development phase as it is in much of the rest of the world. Cryptoassets, as the government defines them, are not banned or prohibited in the UK. But there is also no financial regulatory regime that oversees activities in the space. However, the financial sector watchdogs are now asking for greater scrutiny and regulation.
Last month, UK’s top monetary regulator – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – proposed to make the rules for advertisements of high-risk investments such as digital assets stricter. It noted that investment in crypto assets requires sound financial knowledge and, therefore, companies should not be able to promote them to investors who have little knowledge in this area.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, also flagged concerns about misleading advertisements as obstacles to the growth of cryptocurrencies. However, Hancock pitched for a “regulatory approach:”
“There does need to be a regulatory approach, for example, to ensure adverts are not misleading, and to ensure the exchanges are sound and don’t rip people off,” he explained.
Matt Hancock’s advocacy for cryptocurrencies comes close on the heels of similar positive comments from Chancellor Sunak, who said crypto brings new opportunities.
The media platform also outlined Hancock’s recent remarks in parliament that the UK can become “home of new innovations” in Fintech and crypto post-Brexit.
Featured Image Courtesy of MyLondon