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MP Lisa Cameron advocates digital skills and blockchain in UK Parliament

During Tuesday’s discussion, UK Parliament Member Lisa Cameron advocated for more training in digital skills, like Web3, AI, and blockchain technology. She believes this will help fill the UK’s skills gap and strengthen the country’s cryptocurrency sector.

In the discussion, Cameron stressed that the UK must enhance its digital prowess to excel in evolving digital technologies.

Building a strong talent pipeline

Emphasizing the importance of training and education, Cameron stated that although the UK is well-positioned to leverage the potential advantages ushered in by the digital economy’s expansion, it requires substantial preparation and investment.

She asserted that the UK must foster an impactful talent pipeline. This proactive measure will assist the nation in achieving its ambition of ascending to the position of a tech superpower.

Pointing to Ripple’s 2018 University Blockchain Research Initiative and Circle University, Cameron indicated that the UK needs to strengthen its connections in business and education to boost the digital economy.

UK’s Digital Securities Sandbox

The current Prime Minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak, has always aimed to establish the UK as a center for cryptocurrency. The Bank of England (BOE) and the Financial Conduct Authority have started discussing preliminary guidance for the UK’s Digital Securities Sandbox (DSS).

The DSS is planning to change rules in the UK. This will allow those working in financial markets to use newer technologies—like Distributed Ledger Technology—to trade and settle digital assets like shares and bonds.

The goal is to shape an environment that supports testing new tech in financial markets. This would help navigate regulatory hindrances and boost digital asset innovation.

Under the updated rules, those accepted into the DSS can offer services for storing and settling securities and operating a trading venue.

In relation to the new DSS, Sheldon Mills, the FCA’s Executive Director of Consumers and Competition, stated that this approach is set to revolutionize its regulatory framework.

By permitting firms to test the implications of regulatory adjustments within realistic conditions before their full implementation, they aim to transition towards a highly effective regulation model, allow for better collaboration, and accelerate the process of introducing regulatory changes.

Mills highlighted that the FCA is actively collaborating with the BOE, government, and business sectors to safeguard the genuineness and transparency of UK markets.

Meanwhile, Sasha Mills, the Executive Director for Financial Market Infrastructure at the BOE, articulated the importance of the DSS. She asserted that it’s a crucial instrument for regulators to comprehend how they must respond to safely reap the benefits of technological advancements and shifts in key financial market procedures, such as securities settlement.

The timeline for the DSS consultation, which had key dates, was shared. The last date to give feedback on the consultation is May 29, 2024. BOE and FCA plan to respond to the input and open the DSS for applications in the summer of 2024. By Autumn 2024, they aim to enroll the first DSS applicants in the sandbox program.

The Sandbox will operate for five years, potentially resulting in new, lasting rules for trading and managing digital assets in the UK.

Potential election impact on digital asset strategy

If Sunak doesn’t win in the upcoming elections later this year, his plan regarding digital assets might change. According to recent poll results, his approval is dipping, with a disapproval rate of 69% for the Prime Minister.

In the UK, the Prime Minister usually sets the date for the next election. Given the public’s evident dissatisfaction with Sunak, he’ll probably postpone any election until the end of 2024 to enhance his appeal.

As government changes are anticipated, Cameron’s efforts to strengthen digital programs could become increasingly important.