New U.K. laws to restrict crypto ads and outlaw the provision of services by unauthorized operators were passed in a committee of the House of Commons Thursday without opposition or further debate.
The measures, now formally included in the government’s Financial Services and Markets Bill, add to those agreed upon last week by the Bill Committee, despite industry concerns the measure could make it harder to get ads approved.
In April, Rishi Sunak – at the time finance minister, now prime minister – said he wanted to make the country a crypto hub, and the government has pressed on with its regulatory agenda despite political turbulence that saw first Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss stepping down as leader.
On Oct. 25, minister Andrew Griffith told lawmakers the measure gave him the powers for “regulating a broader set of crypto activities beyond stablecoins,” citing “activities relating to the trading and investment of crypto assets such as bitcoin and [ether].”
The original draft of the bill focused on the use of stablecoins – a means of payment tied to assets such as the British pound. For reasons of legislative procedure, a vote on the longer part of the proposed government amendments was held over until this week.
The new clause formally approved on Thursday would potentially extend existing rules which prevent the promotion or provision of financial services by unauthorized agents – and that power could now cover any cryptographically secured representations of value and rights using means such as Bitcoin-style distributed ledger technology.
Griffith has promised a consultation on exactly how that power should be used before Christmas, and regulator the Financial Conduct Authority has already tentatively set out how it wants to restrict crypto ads.
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