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UK government targets crypto in latest legislative agenda

The United Kingdom has introduced two bills, both concerning the seizure of and support for cryptocurrencies as part of Prince Charles' remarks at the State Opening of Parliament.

In a Tuesday publication released by the U.K. Prime Minister’s Office, the government said it will address crypto regulation in the country with the introduction of the Financial Services and Markets Bill and theEconomic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. The former aims to strengthen the country’s financial services industry, including by supporting “the safe adoption of cryptocurrencies.” According to the proposed financial services law, the measure will “[cut] red tape in the financial sector” in an effort to attract investors to the United Kingdom.

The crime bill proposed “creating powers to more quickly and easily seize and recover crypto assets” to mitigate risks for individuals targeted by ransomware attacks. The publication said the social and economic costs due to financial crimes were estimated at £8.4 billion annually — more than $10.3 billion at the time of publication.

Tuesday’s State Opening of Parliament was the first time Queen Elizabeth II was unable to attend since 1963 due to reported mobility problems. However, the Prime Minister’s Office still referred to the legislative agenda addressing economic issues, crime, the ongoing pandemic, and leadership as “the Queen’s Speech.” Prince William and the Duchess of Cornwall were also in attendance.

Related: The new HM Treasury regulations: The good, the bad and the ugly

The Queen’s speech followed the United Kingdom's Economic and Finance Ministry declaring in April it intended to “take the necessary legislative steps” to bring stablecoins into its regulatory framework as part of a “package of measures” aimed at incorporating crypto assets and blockchain technology. The Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England have also called for crypto firms to enforce the sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

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