Changing the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which is now being debated in the U.K. Parliament, would allow for regulating crypto assets, financial advertising, and other legal activities. Andrew Griffith, a member of parliament and the Treasury's financial secretary, drafted the amendment.
What does the amendment state?
The 335-page measure (1) was introduced in July, and on September 7, the House of Commons held its second reading. The change would, as stated in the explanatory statement that goes along with it, "clarify that the powers about financial promotion and regulated activities can be relied upon to control crypto assets and actions connected to crypto assets."
On August 9, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the United Kingdom's financial watchdog, sent a "Dear Chief Executive" letter (2) outlining its approach to monitoring financial institutions' so-called "alternatives portfolio." The letter stated: "Once the Treasury formalizes legislation to bring them under our remit, we will issue definitive guidelines for the marketing of crypto assets."
The FCA does not currently regulate most cryptocurrency-related firms in the UKCA. However, they have the choice to do so and will be forced to do so in 2019. Many applicants have found the registration process difficult since it only considers anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism measures for now.
In August, the FCA also took action over the promotion of high-risk financial products, and it was made clear that while the agency was not yet regulating crypto assets, they may be harmful. The nation's Advertising Standards Authority has increased the vigilance with which it examines advertisements for cryptocurrencies.
In September, Richard Fuller, Griffith's predecessor as finance minister, declared that the government was dedicated to making the U.K. a "center for crypto technology."(3) The Markets in Crypto-Assets bill was approved on October 10 by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, and a full parliamentary vote is shortly to come.