GDF’s Look at the Queen’s Speech

Yesterday, the Prince of Wales delivered the Queen’s speech, outlining the Government’s priorities for what is likely to be the last parliamentary session before the next general election.

Amidst the 38 bills announced, GDF members will be interested in three in particular.

The first is the Financial Services and Markets Bill. The aims of this bill are said to harness ‘the opportunities of innovative technologies in financial services, including supporting the safe adoption of cryptocurrencies’  The key significance of this is that it will provide the vehicle through which the proposed UK framework for stablecoins will be applied. This is very much seen as the Government delivering on the promises the EST made at the Innovate Finance Global Summit where John Glenn indicated his intention to make the UK the hub for cryptoassets. Given this, we should expect that as well as opening up the Financial Services Bill for the incoming framework, this opportunity will also be taken to address the wider digital assets piece, which the FCA are expected to consult on in Q4 this year. As a result, now is the time to bring to the floor any concerns that industry want to have heard and to have a meaningful debate in Parliament – including on the Financial Promotions Order.

It is expected that the Bill will also lead to giving rule-making powers to the regulators meaning that as well as HMT, the FCA and the Bank of England will have a significant role in shaping policy in this space. It is therefore imperative that there is strong industry engagement with the regulators to ensure effective policy is made. This is particularly important in the context of the Bank of England determining their position of systemic stablecoins.

The second announcement that members should keep an eye on is the Online Safety Bill. This Bill is positioned to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and empowers Ofcom to regulate this. The intention is for this Bill to become law by the end of the year and early discussion has sought to bring crypto and NFT’s within remit, in particular the promotion of NFT’s via social media influencers.

Finally, members should note the announcement of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. This Bill will give law enforcement the ability to seize and recover cryptoassets.