(asked on 17th January 2022) - View Source

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the size of the market for (a) cryptocurrencies, and (b) other digital assets, in the UK, and (2) the need for legislation to facilitate a well-regulated market of these; whether they have any plans to introduce legislation in order to regular this market; and if so, what is the timetable for that legislation.

Answered by
Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait
Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
This question was answered on 31st January 2022

The Government established a Cryptoassets Taskforce in 2018, consisting of HM Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Cryptoasset Taskforce is responsible for assessing developments in the cryptoasset market, and deciding what, if any, regulation is required in response.

HM Treasury and UK authorities have taken a series of actions to support innovation while mitigating risks to stability and market integrity. These include launching a new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime for cryptoassets in 2020; and consulting on a proposal to ensure cryptoassets known as ‘stablecoins’ meet the same high standards expected of other payment methods. The Government will issue its response to this consultation shortly. On 18 January 2022, the Government announced its intention to legislate later this year to bring certain cryptoassets into the scope of financial promotions regulation, requiring them to be fair, clear and not misleading. This is aimed at improving consumers’ understanding of the risks and benefits associated with cryptoasset purchases, and ensuring that cryptoasset promotions are held to the same high standards as broader financial services products.

Consumer research conducted by the FCA in 2021 estimated that 2.3 million people in the UK currently hold cryptoassets. The FCA has announced plans for an £11 million digital marketing campaign to educate consumers on the risks associated with certain high-risk investments, including cryptoassets.

Profits from trading in and gains from disposing of cryptoassets are taxed in the same way and at the same rate as those from other assets. HMRC’s Cryptoassets Manual, one the most detailed publications from any tax administration, explains the tax consequences of different types of transactions involving cryptoassets for both businesses accepting them and individuals using them.

Cryptoassets are unregulated; this means they are not subject to consumer protection regulation and investors will not have recourse to the Financial Ombudsman Service, or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The Government does not currently plan to create a new regulator for cryptoassets. The Government launched a consultation on its regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins on 7 January 2021. It proposed new regulatory responsibilities for the FCA, Bank of England and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR).

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