Cryptoassets: Regulation — [Christina Rees in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:12 am on 7th September 2022.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 10:12 am, 7th September 2022

It is a pleasure to follow Alexander Stafford, and I thank him for his contribution. I particularly thank Martin Docherty-Hughes for raising this issue. He put forward a detailed but succinct presentation, and his knowledge of the subject is impressive. I thank him for sharing it in such a way that our understanding inside and outside the Chamber is a lot better.

As everyone will know, I am not great with technology. To be honest, I like to be able to feel my money in my inside pocket and to know what is in my wallet and in the bank, so crypto is not something that I will ever venture into, but there are a great many who do. I am aware that this is an evolving topic and has a lot of popularity, especially among young people, so it is great to be here to discuss how we can help people go about these things in the right way and, more importantly, safely and with the knowledge of what the gamble can mean—both success and failure.

It has been estimated that 2.6 million people across the UK use cryptocurrency, with around 100,000 people in Northern Ireland using it as a form of finance. Interestingly, from my studies, it seems that outside of London, Northern Irish people buy the most Bitcoin, with 15% of people admitting to purchasing it—I am one of the 85% who do not. The fact that 15% do tells me, first, that there is a great interest in it and, secondly, that many people have faith in it, and they wish to be reassured in that.