Blog Article

Reflections From a Trip Across the Pond: Engaging UK Policymakers and Regulators


Lesley Chavkin

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A quintessential London experience: fish and chips, a couple of gray days, and extensive discussions about blockchain. Well, quintessential for the SDF Policy team, at least.

Last week, we traveled to London to meet with government stakeholders and industry counterparts in the United Kingdom and share our perspective on the evolving global landscape for digital assets regulation. What was apparent in our conversations was that UK officials have thought deeply about the transformative role blockchain technology can play – from reducing frictions in cross-border payments to fostering competition and consumer choice. To help realize these potential benefits, the UK government has proposed building a tailored, flexible framework that sets the conditions for the industry to thrive in the United Kingdom and encourages responsible innovation.

There’s a clear and coherent direction of travel in the United Kingdom on digital assets, one that provides clarity to industry and consumers alike. The approach is constructive and not predetermined – UK policymakers and regulators appear genuinely committed to dialogue. There are of course differences of opinion, yet those with whom we spoke were transparent about their desire to design rules of the road that harness the potential of blockchain technology while promoting market integrity, ensuring financial stability, and protecting consumers.

As part of this ongoing dialogue, we were pleased to submit our response to HM Treasury’s consultation on the future regulatory regime for cryptoassets, which closed on April 30. Our response addresses specific questions raised in the consultation paper related to the environmental impact of blockchain network consensus protocols. The response also sets out SDF’s recommended requirements for stablecoin arrangements, which align closely with the stablecoin regulatory proposals already underway in the United Kingdom. You can find our response here. We welcomed the opportunity to inform the important work of HM Treasury to create a framework for digital assets regulation, and we look forward to staying engaged as the process plays out.

The UK government is clearly grappling with difficult questions about how to develop policies and regulations for the crypto industry that appropriately manage risk without stifling innovation. But there is no political ax to grind or performative stunts. We had sober conversations about serious topics; we listened and were heard. And while we don’t know the end result, we do know that we were given a fair shake–well, that and that chips go well with every meal.