In a landmark move, the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the UK Parliament, has given its approval to the Financial Services and Markets Bill (FSMB), a comprehensive legislation that could potentially recognize cryptocurrencies as a regulated activity within the country. This significant step paves the way for the bill to enter its final stages before being enacted into law.
The FSMB, a voluminous document exceeding 340 pages, was initially introduced in July with the aim of leveraging the freedoms granted by Brexit to enhance regulatory control over the UK’s financial system. The original draft of the bill proposed the regulation of stablecoins under the nation’s payment rules. However, as the bill navigated its way through Parliament, amendments were added to treat all cryptocurrencies as a regulated activity and to introduce measures for overseeing crypto promotions.
The UK government is keen on the FSMB as it would empower regulators to establish crypto rules that the Treasury has been deliberating on. Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith, hinted in an April interview with CNBC that specific rules for the crypto sector could be introduced within the next 12 months. This move is seen as the UK’s attempt to keep pace with the European Union, which recently finalized its own Markets in Crypto Assets regulation, with a primary focus on stablecoins.
The FSMB will now be returned to the lower house of Parliament for agreement on the final version. Once both houses reach a consensus on the document, it will be forwarded to the King for approval and enactment into law. The process allows for the bill to be sent back and forth between the chambers of Parliament until a consensus is reached.
This development marks a significant step forward in recognising and regulating cryptocurrencies and stablecoins in the UK, reflecting the growing acceptance of these digital assets in the global financial landscape.