Cryptoassets: Regulation — [Christina Rees in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:04 am on 7th September 2022.

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Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Conservative, Rother Valley 10:04 am, 7th September 2022

I thank Martin Docherty-Hughes for bringing this important debate to the House, and for securing the first ever debate on crypto in the House of Commons—it is a pleasure to speak in it.

Before I start, I thank the Economic Secretary to the Treasury as well. He and I served on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, and he has done an amazing job over the last two months as Minister. I hope that, in the ongoing reshuffle, he is rewarded for his valiant efforts over the summer holidays.

As mentioned, today’s debate comes at a time of great change, both in Westminster and in finance. The latest game-changing financial assets continue their exponential growth. Crypto—be it NFTs, CBDCs, stablecoins, currencies like Bitcoin or Tether, or the blockchain technology that underpins it all—represents a massive opportunity for British businesses and British investors, and we cannot simply sit back as the next financial revolution comes our way.

However, there is an issue: crypto is, by its very nature, a decentralised platform, with no ties to any particular economy or region. Britain is already world renowned as the beating heart of finance, banking and markets, so it is only natural for crypto to similarly look to Britain as its home. Equally, Britain should welcome the investment and opportunities of crypto. One of the major advantages of welcoming this decentralised platform is the benefits it will bring to the whole UK—not just London and the south-east. Cryptocurrencies can be bought, sold and mined from anywhere with an internet connection—something that the last Government worked so hard to roll out across the UK, and which our new Prime Minister reaffirmed in her commitment to us all yesterday.

Crypto really is an opportunity for everyone, from Truro to Thurcroft and Rother Valley, and all the way up to Scotland and Northern Ireland. If we first fix the problems with education and regulation, I believe we will have a thriving industry here in the UK.