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UK Cabinet Reshuffle: Who is Bim Afolami and What is His Stance on Crypto?

Last Updated November 14, 2023 3:08 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated November 14, 2023 3:08 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Bim Afolami was appointed as the UK Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
  • In his role, he’s also responsible for crypto and CBDC policy.
  • Afolami takes over from Andrew Griffith, who desired the UK to become a crypto hub.
  • Afolami has previously engaged with Coinbase to discuss the financial services landscape.
  • The reshuffling of PM Rishi Sunak’s cabinet comes ahead of the general election.

The UK Treasury remains steadfast in its ambition to establish itself as a crypto hub, undeterred by regulatory hurdles and the recent FTX collapse.

This commitment is underscored by the appointment of Bim Afolami , a crypto-friendly Member of Parliament, as the Economic Secretary, and the government’s continuous initiatives to shape a regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency industry.

Crypto-Friendly MP New Economic Secretary

Bim Afolami, the Member of Parliament for Hitchin and Harpenden, assumed the role of Economic Secretary  to the UK Treasury on Monday, with responsibilities extending to crypto and central bank digital currency (CBDC) policy.

Afolami takes over from Andrew Griffith, who, despite the FTX crypto exchange collapse, expressed a desire for the U.K. to become a crypto hub. Griffith played a key role in passing the Financial Services and Markets Bill, enhancing regulatory authority over crypto during his tenure.

Last year, Afolami engaged with Coinbase executives  to discuss the financial services landscape, emphasizing the importance of an appropriate regulatory regime, as stated on his website.

The reshaping of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet precedes the upcoming general election, mandated by 2025. Notably, Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, left on Monday, November 14, 2023, succeeded by James Cleverly, who, in turn, relinquished his position as foreign secretary to former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Building A Global Crypto Hub

Earlier this month, Griffith has restated the British government’s dedication to transforming the UK into a prominent global crypto hub.

In the foreword of HM Treasury’s response  to the consultation and call for evidence on the future regulatory regime for crypto assets, Griffith stated : “I am very pleased to present these final proposals for crypto asset regulation in the UK on behalf of the government.” Emphasizing, he added:

“The government’s ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technologies remains steadfast.

“To realize this ambition, we must make the UK a place where cryptoasset firms have the clarity needed to invest and innovate, and where customers have the protections necessary for confidently using these technologies,” he stated.

The UK government presented its consultation paper  on the future regulatory framework for crypto assets in February.

Griffith elaborated, stating: “We set out extensive proposals for a UK regime, including plans to regulate core activities such as custody and lending, and to bring centralized crypto asset exchanges into financial services regulation for the first time.”

He then said :

“With the future regulatory framework now taking clear shape and the Financial Services and Markets Act now passed, the U.K. is the obvious choice for starting and scaling a cryptoasset business.”

Griffith, a top government official, pointed out that the UK stands as the largest financial center globally outside of the U.S.

Acknowledging the country’s tech industry valuation surpassing $1 trillion , Griffith underscored: “We are only the 3rd country to hit this valuation after China and the U.S.”

He noted, “Unsurprisingly the UK consistently ranks at or near the top of research reports on ‘crypto-readiness’ and ‘crypto-friendliness,'” and added:

“I look forward to our continued work with the sector in making our vision a reality for the UK as a global hub for cryptoasset technology.”

The U.K. government initially revealed its comprehensive plan to establish itself as a global crypto hub in April last year.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, then serving as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, expressed :

“It’s my ambition to make the U.K. a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate, and scale up in this country.”

John Glen, the U.K.’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury at the time, similarly declared :

“We want this country to be a global hub — the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto-companies.”

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