New PM hailed as fintech champion as new crypto asset legislation passes second reading in the House of Commons

The appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister is likely to boost the passage through Parliament of wide ranging legislation on crypto assets.

Mr Sunak was among the architects of amendments to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 with regard to cryptocurrency.

The amendments received a second reading in the House of Commons on October 24, 2022, while Mr Sunak’s appointment as the new Conservative Party leader was confirmed the following day.

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The new PM is known as a champion of fintech dating from his recent stint as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The proposed legislation seeks to regulate stablecoins and cryptoassets as forms of payments.

The second reading saw MPs undertake a line-by-line reading of the proposed Financial Services and Markets Bill – an update of the 2000 Act which covers the U.K.’s post-Brexit economic strategy.

Proposed amendments to the bill, include a move to include crypto assets in the scope of regulated financial services in the country.

The amendment was proposed by Andrew Griffith MP, who served under Mr Sunak at the Treasury.

He spoke at the Commons reading to propose that the term crypto asset should be defined as any cryptographically secured digital representation of value or contractual rights that uses blockchain technology and can be transferred, stored or traded.

The new Prime Minister was described as a champion of fintech during his recent stint as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He has previously said that including cryptoassets in the Financial Services and Markets Act would ensure the UK’s financial services sector remains at the forefront of technology and innovation.

As Chancellor, Mr Sunak also suggested launching an official Royal Mint NFT (non-fungible token) collection.

The Treasury, under Mr Sunak, said it wanted the UK to be “the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto companies.”

The amended Bill will go before the House of Lords before coming back to the Commons for final approval.

The new crypto provision in the Bill is designed to regulate crypto promotions and bar companies with no authorisation to operate in the UK.

Mr Griffiths said there would be consultation with industry stakeholders to “ensure the framework reflects the unique benefits and risks posed by crypto activities.”

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