UK Treasury Unveils Regulatory Framework for Digital Securities Sandbox
The UK Treasury has revealed its regulatory framework for a Digital Securities Sandbox under the Financial Services and Markets Act.
In a memo published on Monday, the UK Treasury explained that the purpose of these regulations is to establish a regulated setting, enabling both companies and regulators to experiment with new technology within financial markets. This initiative seeks to overcome current regulatory challenges and stimulate innovation within the crypto industry.
These regulations grant the Treasury the authority to waive, adjust, or introduce new legislative mandates. Additionally, they authorize the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority to manage and oversee a sandbox if granted the necessary powers by the Treasury.
There is also a provision for the findings from sandbox experiments to be permanently incorporated into legislation through collaboration between the Treasury and Parliament.
The regulations will empower qualifying financial market entities to engage as “sandbox entrants,” allowing them to undertake approved activities utilizing emerging technologies for a trial period of five years under adjusted regulatory conditions.
Activities explicitly mentioned in the legislation encompass tasks such as “operating a trading venue” and performing various functions related to digital securities, such as maintenance, notary services, and settlement. Additionally, entities granted approval to partake in the sandbox can also undertake ancillary activities directly associated with these functions.
The memorandum explicitly states that these rules are designed to facilitate trials involving distributed ledger technology and the foundational technology of digital assets. Specifically, such tests may leverage the aforementioned technologies to fulfill the functions of central securities depositories and trading venues.
The memorandum briefly mentions cryptocurrency, acknowledging that distributed ledger technology has its roots in crypto assets, but underscores the broader applications of DLT. However, the Treasury noted that cryptocurrency exchanges are among the entities expressing interest in utilizing the sandboxes.
The rules governing the Digital Securities Sandbox stem from the Treasury’s utilization of powers granted by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, enacted in June. These sandbox rules are scheduled to be effective from January 8, 2024.
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