Britain’s new PM is a fan of crypto. There are hopes he’ll give the industry a boost
As finance minister, Rishi Sunak was a vocal advocate of crypto and blockchain technology.
U.K. cryptocurrency firms and investors have high hopes that new prime minister Rishi Sunak could turn around Britain’s fading crypto aspirations.
The new U.K. leader, who was finance minister in former PM Boris Johnson’s government, faces a daunting to-do list, which includes undoing the economic havoc wreaked by his predecessor Liz Truss. Crypto isn’t exactly high up on his priority list, but industry insiders say there’s reason to be optimistic.
“The feeling among entrepreneurs is one of relief,” said Christian Faes, co-founder of digital lending startup LendInvest. “There’s a feeling that we finally have someone sensible in Number 10, after the arrogance and incompetence of Liz Truss and [ex-Finance Minister] Kwasi Kwarteng almost crashed the U.K. economy.”
“Rishi sees the opportunity and potential that crypto has, and wants the U.K. to be a leader in it,” Faes, who also chairs the Fintech Founders network, added.
Sunak, a former Goldman Sachs analyst, has on several occasions expressed a positive attitude toward crypto. As the minister in charge of Britain’s finances, he outlined a grand plan to make the country a global crypto hub in April. That included bringing stablecoins within the regulatory parameters and getting the Royal Mint, the official U.K. coin maker, to launch a nonfungible token.
At a drinks reception organized by the venture capital firm Index Ventures in June, Sunak said he was “determined” to make the U.K. “the jurisdiction of choice for crypto and blockchain technology.”
But after weeks of political instability, crypto firms and investors are wondering what he’ll do to boost the market, which is licking its wounds after a punishing few months for digital asset prices and a slew of corporate bankruptcies.