Jackson Mueller, Director of Policy & Government Affairs at Securrency, a leading developer of institutional-grade blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology

  • Jackson Mueller, Director of Policy & Government Affairs at Securrency

  • 13.04.2022 11:45 am
"If crypto technologies are going to be a big part of the future, then we in the UK want to be in, and in on the ground floor,” said City Minister Jon Glen expressing the UK government's strong commitment to the sector. As the UK announces plans to become the world’s leading crypto hub, what can lawmakers do to ensure they don't fall behind? 

I’d raise the question as to what ‘fall behind’ means? Most countries are still in the preliminary stages of developing appropriate regulatory guardrails around various crypto asset activities and services, and even then it’s not known the extent to which the proposed guardrails will contribute to the development of the industry or derail it. Similarly, policy and regulation are simply one, albeit important, component of developing a crypto hub. Talent, expertise, investment, an ecosystem favorable to startup formation, the quality of digital infrastructure, among a whole host of other components, are also essential to truly becoming a ‘hub’. Without all the necessary components in place, it’s simply lipstick on a pig. For US lawmakers, in particular, I’d be less concerned about “falling behind” and more concerned with ensuring the ecosystem, in its totality, has the necessary components to thrive in a responsible and sound manner."

Treasury Secretary Yellen delivered her first speech on digital assets last week. What did you take from it? 
"The fact that the Secretary gave a 35-minute speech on digital assets, alone, should tell you how far crypto assets policy has moved up the Biden Administration’s agenda. It was encouraging to hear, once again, that regulation is based on risks and activities, not on specific technologies, themselves. Furthermore, the recognition from the Treasury Secretary that distributed ledger technology could reduce concentration in financial markets and the Secretary’s call to prepare for potential changes to financial market infrastructure resulting from the application of DLT was certainly a positive takeaway given the ongoing public and private efforts to evolve current processes and frameworks originally designed for an analog era. What is likely, especially given the Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu’s, remarks shortly following the Secretary’s remarks, is that we’ll hear from more officials over the next several weeks in the lead-up to the initial release of several reports detailing the government’s efforts on, and approach to, digital assets. That could provide the industry with a bit more certainty on how relevant agencies and departments approach digital assets, but it remains to be seen whether prepared remarks and published reports will translate into action."
How, from a legislative perspective, can the U.S. ensure a constructive partnership and collaboration with colleagues in the UK (and further afield) on digital assets moving forward?"
"I think we’re already seeing quite a level of engagement between US policymakers and government officials and their counterparts overseas concerning digital assets, especially given the geopolitical challenges of today. I would, however, encourage policymakers to become familiar with the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, relevant UK All Party Parliamentary Groups (i.e. APPG FinTech, APPG Crypto and Digital Assets), the work of the UK Department for International Trade in expanding FinTech bridges overseas, among many other initiatives that may not strictly focus on digital assets, but which may someday be influential in bringing both sides of the Atlantic together to enable greater collaboration on digital assets."

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