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The UK is getting ready to “scale up” on crypto, says MP

We caught up with Dr. Lisa Cameron MP, Chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets APPG and Westminster’s most vocal crypto proponent.

2023 has been a volatile year for the crypto industry. While many economic areas have made significant regulatory advancements, other nations have been uncharacteristically hostile

Of all crypto regulations, Europe’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Regulation is the most comprehensive, providing companies with clear, harmonised regulations across 27 member states.

Hot on the heels of Europe though is the UK, which is moving forward with its own plans to become a “global crypto hub”. 

Related: MiCA published in EU official journal, marking the start of a new regulatory era

Speaking with CryptoPlug, Dr. Lisa Cameron, MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, said that the UK has a window of opportunity to generate a second-mover advantage in light of MiCA.

“I’m very encouraged by MiCA. Europe has done something brave, unique and innovative as legislators to be first-movers,” she said. “Having left the EU, the UK has an opportunity – what we call a ‘second-mover’ advantage – to see what works and improve upon it as we develop a bespoke regime with a competitive edge.”

Cameron has a background in clinical psychology, and she currently serves as Chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets APPG in Westminster. The APPG is an all-parties group that’s influential in pressing Parliament to act on providing greater consumer protection and financial education across the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry.

Read more: ‘7 out of 10’ chance UK will adopt a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as Project Rosalind study concludes

Economic trends already reveal a shift in VC investment toward the EU, but Cameron asserted we can expect to see a shift in the UK’s approach to crypto over the next year.

“Over the next 12-24 months, the UK will have really shifted the dialogue on what legislation is needed, and how we can give regulators the support they need to push through the innovation and entrepreneurship of the country,” she said.

“My job over the next year is looking at international best practices to get a better idea of how we can develop a bespoke regime that gives us a competitive edge, but also making sure we have as many Labour MPs as Conservative MPs, who are quite naturally into this sector. What we don’t want is to take any steps back if there’s a change of government. We need to keep the pace with the sector, which is ever rapidly developing.”

The APPG was founded two and a half years ago, and it now has the support of more than 30 politicians across all political parties. 

In her keynote speech at Zebu Live 2023, Cameron urged listeners to get involved with the APPG, stating “it’s your Parliament as it is our Parliament”.

She said, “The UK is a special place, we need to embrace our talent. We can work together and achieve this. We now have to put in the work to collaborate with the Web3 sector to bring politicians onboard to see how vital it is square the circle, to scale up.” 

“We’re sitting on the cusp of a digital revolution, and we want it to be led in the UK as a hub across the rest of the world.”

Dr. Lisa Cameron MP: a British CBDC is likely

In June, Jon Cunliffe, Bank of England Deputy Governor, predicted that the odds of CBDC adoption in the UK stand at around “seven out of ten“. This was further affirmed by the findings of Project Rosalind – an experiment led by the Bank for International Settlements and the Bank of England exploring how application programming interfaces (APIs) might be used for CBDC systems.

A CBDC is a digital form of national currency that’s issued and regulated by a country’s central bank. It digitally represents a country’s fiat currency. China already uses a CBDC known as e-CNY, which represents the yuan.

CBDCs are not the same as cryptocurrencies. Although they are similar in the sense that they both use distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies are decentralised, independent networks, while CBDCs are issued and owned by a central bank or government reserve.

Read more: “Big Brother’s Digital Dollar”: What are CBDCs and why has Florida banned them?

“It’s likely the case [that the UK will adopt a CBDC],” Cameron confirmed to CryptoPlug. “Most of the G7 have CBDCs on their agendas now. There’s an interesting geopolitical aspect to it, particularly with what’s happening in China, so we need to have a response.”

“A CBDC will give people the confidence to move into the digital finance world,” she added.

Cameron acknowledged that there are privacy concerns relating to CBDCs. “There will have to be [legislation protecting privacy] – there’s a balance to be struck,” she said. “There’s no point in the rest of the world developing their CBDCs and the UK deciding not to. We’d end up as an outlier.” 

Industry is “poaching” skilled workers from the FCA

Web3 is a radical and disruptive industry that will require a huge effort to bring into mainstream adoption. One of the biggest barriers to adoption in the UK has been resources, Cameron said.

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) doesn’t have enough resources and support to do the job it needs to do, and to develop their teams,” she said. “Industry is to blame for this to some degree, because workers are often poached from the FCA as soon as they develop their skills and expertise.”

“I’ve also raised questions to Parliament about opening bank accounts – how can we be a hub if some companies can’t even open a bank account to pay their staff?” she added.

Also commenting on barriers relating to Web3 adoption is Dr Lucy Davey – a crypto investor with a background in clinical medicine.

“The UK has massive potential to become a global crypto hub – not just for traditional investors, but for people of all walks of life,” she told CryptoPlug. 

Dr Lucy Davey with Dr Lisa Cameron at Zebu Live, 2023

“Web3 is still a very male dominated sector, but we’re slowly seeing change. We need more role models and inspiration, which we’re seeing more of every day.”

She added, “The beauty of Web3 is that it’s extremely flexible and adaptable, and we need to showcase how many opportunities there are in this space for so many people.” 

Disclaimer: CryptoPlug does not recommend that any cryptocurrency should be bought, sold, or held by you. Do conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

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