The UK has been one of the quieter — even absent — countries on the topic of crypto and NFTs. While some nations have been combative and restrictive, others have looked to become a crypto “hub”. The UK has opted for neither, and the uncertainty that has caused has been offputting to many.
I can say that the lack of regulations is offputting as I am based in the UK and I feel it firsthand, and I’m just one person — institutions and companies will feel that tenfold. Building anything substantial in crypto, in the UK, feels akin to building on land that may or may not be a sinkhole.
One boon UK crypto-folk have experienced is the exit of Liz Truss and replacement with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister; Sunak has an affinity for cryptocurrencies and technology. In fact, whilst Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sunak has 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.”
It’s unsurprising that I support that philosophy and proposed trajectory for the UK, and now that Sunak is PM, we could see it come to fruition.
DCMS Inquiry Into NFTs and Blockchain
According to the UK Parliament website, “DCMS will hold an inquiry into the operation, risks, and benefits of NFTs and the wider blockchain.” While I welcome this, “…and the wider blockchain” is a puzzling end to that sentence, which is unsettling. Nevertheless, the DCMS inquiry will have Members of Parliament in the UK discussing how the industry ought to be approached.
“NFTs swept through the digital world so fast that we had no time to stop and consider. Now that the market is veering wildly, and there are fears that the bubble may burst, we need to understand the risks, benefits, and regulatory requirements of this groundbreaking technology.
Investors, especially vulnerable ones, are at risk of being swindled into buying NFTs whose value may tank on the moment of purchase. Our inquiry will investigate whether greater regulation is needed to protect these consumers and wider markets from volatile investments.
This inquiry will also help Parliament understand the opportunities presented by an exciting new technology which could democratise how assets are bought and sold.”
— Julian Knight MP
Although some have recoiled at the idea of the government discussing NFTs and blockchain technology, the Chair of the DCMS Committee’s comments above soothe my concerns. As I have raised on the podcast many times in the past year, vulnerable investors are not well protected in the industry.
This news is not only of importance to UK citizens, but anyone interested in crypto, as other nations may take cues from how the British government reacts to the DCMS’s findings. Upon completion of the inquiry, there will be a Treasury review.