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News Report

Queen’s Speech 2022 Sparks UK’s Renewed Interest in Cryptocurrencies

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James

In Brief

  • The Queen of England’s annual speech to the Parliament was delivered with the spotlight shining on cryptocurrencies.
  • The country will pass a bill to regulate and stifle the effects of the illegal use of cryptocurrencies.
  • UK has had a turbulent history with cryptocurrencies with regulators having run-ins with leading firms in the space.
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The English Queen’s speech was read out in Parliament by Prince Charles and the country’s cryptocurrency ecosystem is bracing itself for monumental legislation in the coming months.

The United Kingdom (UK) might receive comprehensive cryptocurrency legislation in the near future following the Queen’s speech on the floor of Parliament. The speech included 38 bills that Ministers expect to become law before the next year ranging from security and justice to infrastructure and education.

The Queen’s Speech is traditionally read by Queen Elizabeth but on this occasion, it was read by Prince Charles citing health concerns. The focus of the bill appears to be “tackling” the illegal use of cryptocurrencies.

“A bill will be brought forward to further strengthen powers to tackle illicit finance, reduce economic crime and help businesses grow. Measures will be introduced to support the security services and help them protect the United Kingdom,” said Prince Charles.

Gleaning from the speech, the bill would confer wide powers to regulatory agencies to go after illegal players in the crypto space including seizure of assets. The Draft Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill include lofty plans to “create new competition rules for digital markets and the largest digital firms.”

While the wording of the draft excluded the express mention of the word  “cryptocurrencies”, pundits have averred that it is aimed at digital assets.

Extension of the bill to advertisements 

Per the speech, the purpose of the bill also includes the protection of “consumers’ hard-earned cash from scams and rip-offs and boost consumers’ rights.” The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had banned several cryptocurrency adverts on grounds that they were misleading to consumers. Perhaps, the passage of the bill suggests that crypto ads would be held to an even higher standard by the ASA.

Plans to rein in the country’s cryptocurrency sector have been underway for some time. In April, the country’s Economic and Financial Ministry declared that it would be taking the “legislative steps” to regulate stablecoins in the country while the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) directed firms to comply with the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The FCA is holding its first crypto sprint that will see the regulator meet with industry experts aimed at fostering collaboration between parties. The two-day event has drawn the attention of players in the space, with some hoping that it could be “the start of the process of accelerating the regulator up to speed.”

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