UK Treasury Secretary gives six month window for crypto-related regulations

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

Bim Afolami, Economic Secretary to the UK Treasury, has revealed that the UK government is “pushing very hard” to introduce formalised regulations surrounding cryptocurrency. 

The new City Minister, who was appointed in his new role last November in a Conservative cabinet reshuffle, believes that legislation for crypto-related products such as stablecoins and other digital assets, should be introduced in the next six months. 

Afolami revealed this timeline during a Coinbase-held event in London yesterday (19 February) and it is believed that fast-tracking crypto regulations this year would help the Conservative Party during the upcoming election. 

“We’re very clear that we want to get these things done as soon as possible. And I think over the next six months, those things are doable,” said Afolami. 

“Short answer is, I don’t know. There’s just a huge amount going on, so I don’t want to commit to that now.”

Prior to becoming UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak in his previous role as Chancellor made it no secret that he wanted to make the UK a ‘global hub’ for digital assets and financial technology. 

Since making that assertion in 2022, crypto regulation talks and actions have accelerated, with the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) handing dual oversight of crypto-related regulation and policy. 

The two UK financial entities drafted first proposals to regulate stablecoins within the country, focusing on how stablecoins should be regulated, which largely relates to a payment-focused aspect. 

Despite the UK crypto market welcoming the proposals as a sign of the government’s proactive stance on crypto, organisations such as CryptoUK called on both the BoE and FCA to provide greater transparency when it pertains to a “same risk, same regulation” approach.  

What the proposals also included was a timeline drafted by the BoE and FCA, which stated that consultation on final rules will conclude mid-2024 with an implementation plan signalled for 2025. 

This does not align with Afolami’s proposed six month window for implementation and will be interesting to follow the City Minister’s relationship alongside the BoE and FCA over the course of the year.