Cryptocurrencies

Treasury written question – answered on 13th January 2022.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential risks to financial stability of the growth in cryptocurrency and other cryptoasset holdings; and if he will place a copy of that assessment in the Library.

Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the estimated value of cryptocurrencies and other cryptoassets held in the UK by (a) households, (b) non-financial businesses, (c) financial businesses and (d) other organisations; and if he will place a copy of those estimates in the Library.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) noted in its December 2021 Financial Stability Report that direct risks to the stability of the UK financial system from cryptoassets are currently limited. However, it also noted at the current rapid pace of growth, and as these assets become more interconnected with the wider financial system, cryptoassets will present a number of financial stability risks.

The Chancellor laid the Financial Stability report in Parliament on the 14th December.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published consumer research in June 2021, which offered insight into the cryptoassets market in the UK. The FCA found that 4.4% of UK adults currently hold cryptocurrency, or approximately 2.3 million consumers. The FCA also found that the median value of holdings of crypto owners was £300, and 47% of crypto owners (who chose to declare their holdings) had £260 or less in crypto.

According to the December 2021 Financial Stability Report, no major UK banks have reported having direct exposures to cryptoassets as yet, some UK and global banks are starting to offer a variety of services, such as cryptoasset derivatives trading, and custody services.

The UK authorities continue to monitor developments in this area very closely and have already taken a series of actions to support innovation while mitigating risks to stability and market integrity. These include launching a new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime for cryptoassets in 2020; consulting on proposals to ensure cryptoasset promotions are fair, clear and not misleading; and consulting on a proposal to ensure cryptoassets known as ‘stablecoins’ meet the same high standards expected of other payment methods. The Government will issue responses to the consultations shortly.

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