UK Plans to Mandate New Authorization for All Crypto Firms Including Those Registered

Under this proposal, such firms would be subject to extensive additional requirements. For example, in-scope firms would be subject to regulatory capital and liquidity requirements, as well as bespoke custody rules based on those that apply to custodians of financial instruments under the FCA’s Client Assets Sourcebook . The changes are intended to encompass all stablecoins that reference fiat currencies, including single-currency stablecoins or stablecoins based on a basket of currencies, as they have the capacity to develop into widespread means of payment. Additionally, as the role of the wallet provider is a key feature of cryptoassets, the government considers that regulation is required to ensure that the custody or the arranging body of the token is subject to the appropriate regulation. The government will set out in legislation how the new activity will be brought within regulation and the scope of the FCA’s powers.

cryptocurrency regulation uk

Further, the FCA’s financial promotion rules might apply to their marketing even if they are not authorised. Most jurisdictions which have already established regulatory frameworks for cryptoassets have not explicitly brought lending and borrowing activities into the regulatory perimeter. The U.K.’s second-mover advantage has allowed HM Treasury to learn from other regimes and to calibrate its regulatory proposals to reflect the turbulence in the crypto markets in the last year. These proposals represent wide-ranging reforms and will have an impact on many cryptoasset market participants, including firms that are already regulated for other financial services and are active in this sector. We discuss some of the most immediate effects for participants in the crypto markets.

I. Australian Crypto Regulatory Regime

The Government will amend existing legislation to provide that crypto-assets constitute “specified investments”. The effect of this will be to trigger the application of regulatory authorisation where any of the above newly regulated activities are carried on in relation to crypto-assets. The Phase 1 initiatives are already underway through the Financial Services and Markets Bill and in a statutory instrument that will provide more detail around the regulation of stablecoins .

cryptocurrency regulation uk

Griffith said that the U.K.’s regulatory approach would mix both existing regulations and new ones. The U.S., meanwhile, has taken a hard line on cryptocurrency firms with its regulators stepping up enforcement action against companies. Britain could introduce specific laws aimed at regulating the cryptocurrency industry in the next 12 months, a top lawmaker told CNBC. Britain could introduce specific laws aimed at regulating the cryptocurrency industry in the next 12 months, Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to the U.K. First, though, a general observation about the tone of the document, which sometimes reads as though it had been written by crypto enthusiasts trying to sound grown up. Thus the talk everywhere is of “benefits” and of “opportunities” flowing from crypto technology.


In Israel, for instance, crypto mining is treated as a business and is subject to corporate income tax. In India and elsewhere, regulatory uncertainty persists, although Canada and the United States are relatively friendly to crypto mining. Since it seems improbable that the massed bands of philosophy, politics and economics alumni in the Treasury would be so crass as to engage in such boosterism, I started digging to find its source. It is to be found in annex B of an earlier Treasury document, the “final report” of the Cryptoassets Taskforce. The authors of that report had “benefited from the contributions of stakeholders across the DLT and cryptoasset sector” – namely, more than “60 firms and other stakeholders”. As soon as the law is passed, the U.K Treasury department will be able to enforce regulation over the crypto market.

cryptocurrency regulation uk

The recent failures in the cryptocurrency sector have resulted in the total global market capitalisation of cryptoassets decreasing around 75% to approximately $0.8 trillion from a peak of around $3 trillion in November 2021. Algorithmic stablecoins like the ill-fated terraUSD are deemed risky and potentially volatile, and should be treated like other unbacked cryptos such as bitcoin , the document said. The Government’s approach is to focus on activities carried on in relation to crypto-assets and regulate these activities as opposed to the crypto-assets themselves. cryptocurrency regulation uk Issues of transparency relating to crypto-assets, such as their features, rights and obligations, will be addressed through the application of conduct of business rules to regulated firms, as well as the financial promotion and listing disclosure rules mentioned above. The new regime will apply to crypto-asset activities provided in or to the UK. This means that offshore exchanges and other businesses targeting UK clients could become subject to a UK authorisation requirement and will also need to comply with the new financial promotion rules mentioned above.


On 1 February 2023, the UK Treasury published a consultation and call for evidence titled “Future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets” . The proposals outlined in the Consultation build on prior discussion papers, consultation papers, policy statements and guidance notes issued by various UK bodies in discrete areas of cryptoasset regulation. The Consultation is the most comprehensive set of proposals for the regulation of cryptoasset activities issued by the UK government to date, and seeks to achieve broad alignment with the UK’s approach to regulating traditional financial services. In addition to the Consultation, the UK government is considering the introduction of a regulatory regime for the issuers, custodians and payment service providers of fiat-backed stablecoins used for payments. This regime will be introduced via the FS&M Bill and will be administered by the FCA.

  • Utility tokens allow the owner to access specific products or services on a platform, often using distributed ledger technology.
  • The most notable part was his proposal to regulate stablecoins, paving the way for them to be accepted as a recognized form of payment.
  • Firms that are already authorised under FSMA (e.g., banks and investment firms) and intend to undertake a newly defined RAO cryptoasset activity would first need to apply for a variation of their permission from the FCA (and the Prudential Regulation Authority for dual-regulated firms).
  • As such, it became clear that certain requirements proposed in the initial consultation would amount to an effective ban on cryptoasset financial promotions.
  • Unlike currently, the activity would involve either “safeguarding” or “safeguarding and administering” of cryptoassets, so that custodians who merely hold private keys are captured.
  • Lastly, the approach to regulate DeFi on the same lines as centralized financial entities operating in the system might be detrimental to the purpose of decentralization that Crypto aims to achieve.
  • Taking account of the Consultation feedback, the Treasury is then expected to issue secondary legislation to formalise the cryptoasset regulatory framework under the Financial Services and Markets Act as amended by the FS&M Bill.

Generally, nodes have an increased chance of being selected as the next validator by virtue of the amount of tokens staked in the network (i.e., the larger the stake, the higher the chances). There are entities that provide services whereby institutions or individuals can have the option to stake their tokens to a particular node, in order to increase its chances of being chosen as a validator for the next transaction and subsequently earning mining rewards as a result . The Commission has also proposed a new concept of control through the common law, intending to strike a balance between recognising the unique features of data objects while keeping the benefits of the law of possession. Control would depend on the factual ability to determine use that a person has over the data object, rather than on any legal rights they might have in relation to it. A person in control of a data object can exclude others from it, use it, transfer it, and identify themselves as the person able to carry out these things. As with the existing legal concept of possession, however, there is no requirement of intention.

Digital Identity: Anti-Money Laundering and Risks

Recognizing the technological prowess and potential of Crypto, the country has designed a framework solely for its financial services which will make its adoption risk-free and bolster its innovation simultaneously. While this regulatory u-turn offered a rosier picture for crypto, authorities in India retained a dismissive attitude toward crypto. The government and central bank has repeatedly warned the public off crypto, with a government panel even recommending jail terms of up to 10 years for those dealing in digital currencies.

Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. The consultation has just been launched and the important details of the new regime will be developed in due course. In addition to this, and most importantly, firms will need to comply with new and more onerous regulatory obligations. Safeguarding, or safeguarding and administering, of fiat-backed stablecoins and/or means of access to fiat-backed stablecoins . However, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority has said that more than 80 per cent of licence applicants were unable to show they could do this properly as “dark money” flows through the sector.

Will This Colour India’s Approach?

The framework is triggered if the service provided falls under the definitions under the PSRs and EMRs. The Electronic Commerce Regulations 2022 apply more generally and impose requirements on businesses that offer or provide goods or services digitally. Whether the legislation applies depends on whether the business being conducted is subject to UK regulation.


Financial market regulators around the world hardly know what to make of cryptocurrency. This asset class doesn’t fit neatly into existing categories, while the collapse of FTX in 2022 made the need for smarter regulations painfully obvious. Income tax is a considerably new adoption of tax laws from HMRC on crypto assets. Capital gains tax, following your tax bracket, is then due to be paid on the gain. Each crypto investor in the UK is granted a capital gains allowance of £12,300 annually, which can be used on crypto assets.

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