Rishi Sunak, who shepherded the U.K.’s new crypto ambitions during his time as finance minister, has been chosen to be the country’s next prime minister following Liz Truss’ controversial exit from office last week.
Sunak was chosen by his fellow Conservative Party members on Monday to replace Truss – who was in office for just 45 days and was forced to resign after her economic stimulus plan quickly unraveled, leading to political and economic instability.
During his time as finance minister under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sunak announced he wanted to turn the U.K. into a crypto hub. He helped usher in the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which, if passed into law, could give local regulators broad power over the crypto industry – starting with bringing asset-pegged crypto like stablecoins into the scope of payments regulations. Under his leadership, the country's coin producer, the Royal Mint, was tasked with creating a non-fungible token (NFT) collection, which has yet to come to fruition.
Truss’ government had expressed a commitment to Sunak’s crypto plans but her resignation threatened to shake things up once again. The local crypto industry, which had been in communication with Sunak over crypto policy during his tenure as finance minister, stands to welcome his appointment as the leader of the government.
Following the announcement of Sunak's appointment, Adam Jackson, director of policy at Innovate Finance, a U.K. tech industry body that also advocates for crypto, called the former finance minister a "champion of fintech."
"It's a positive for crypto and the general economy," Ian Taylor, director of the industry lobby group CryptoUK, told CoinDesk via WhatsApp.
UPDATE (Oct. 24, 15:03 UTC) – Adds detail in the third paragraph and comments from Ian Taylor and Adam Jackson.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.