UK Appoints Bim Afolami as Economic Secretary to Oversee Crypto Regulation

UK Appoints Bim Afolami as Economic Secretary to Oversee Crypto Regulation

Bim Afolami has been appointed as the economic secretary to the Treasury of the United Kingdom, where he will have authority over policies that impact the adoption of digital assets and central bank digital currencies within the country.

According to a recent announcement by the UK government, the appointment is part of a restructuring effort involving ministers and secretaries.

Under the administration of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the former Economic Secretary Andrew Griffith advocated for policies to establish the UK as a prominent crypto hub, including the introduction of stablecoins.

Griffith has now been appointed as the next minister of state in the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology.

CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association, has expressed its intention to brief Afolami on the potential contributions of cryptocurrencies to the UK economy, as well as the challenges faced by the sector.

“We look forward to working with new EST Bim Afolami to help realise the government’s ambition to make the UK a global cryptoasset technology hub,” the group said in a recent post on X (formerly Twitter).

We look forward to working with new EST @BimAfolami to help realise the government's ambition to make the UK a global #cryptoasset #technology hub. We will brief Bim on our sector's contributions to the UK economy & ongoing challenges, including #financialpromotions & #debanking.

— CryptoUK (@CryptoUKAssoc) November 14, 2023

Afolami had previously met with senior representatives from Coinbase in June 2022, during which they discussed the regulatory environment.

At the time, Afolami emphasized the importance of establishing an appropriate regulatory regime for certain financial services.

UK Government Adopts New Crypto Regulations

The UK government has been actively addressing policies related to artificial intelligence, financial technology, and the metaverse through regulatory measures, enforcement actions, and investigations.

Back in October, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) implemented some new rules pertaining to digital assets, which require crypto firms to register with the financial regulator and have their marketing materials approved by an FCA-authorized firm.

Key updates include exchanges providing clear warnings to customers about the risks associated with crypto investments.

Marketing materials must be fair, transparent, and not misleading. Additionally, a 24-hour cooling-off period for new customers is required.

While the FCA extended the deadline for implementing technically challenging features like the cooling-off period until January 2024, firms are expected to adhere to the “core rules” from October 8.

As reported, leading crypto exchanges Coinbase, Revolut, and Binance have updated their mobile and web applications to comply with the new regulations.

More recently, the FCA identified some recurring issues in the marketing of cryptoassets following the implementation of new regulations.

The agency highlighted three primary problems, which include misleading claims regarding safety and security, insufficient risk warnings, and the failure to emphasize product-specific risks.

The FCA said that since the introduction of the new rules, it has issued more than 200 alerts against firms suspected of illegally promoting cryptoassets.

“Since the regime went live, we have issued 221 alerts. This list will be continually updated as we identify firms that may be illegally communicating cryptoasset promotions and are failing to engage with us constructively.”

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