From 8th – 11th October 2023, the CryptoUK team attended the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool to engage with senior party officials, MPs, staffers and policymakers and contribute to a number of important policy discussions relating to the UK’s crypto and digital asset industry.
CryptoUK also hosted a fringe event, the first of its kind for our sector, where, together with our members Circle, Curveblock and Zumo, we explored ‘A Fairer Future For Money’ with a large and engaged audience.
Participation in the conference allowed us to better understand the pillars of the Labour Party’s manifesto, which will inform our ongoing programme of advocacy and engagement.
Growing the economy, including the creation of more and better-paying jobs for all and the tax revenues needed to fund public services, was named the party’s primary objective. The CryptoUK team championed the digital asset industry’s current and potential contributions to this objective during numerous conversations with conference participants.
Additionally, there was a significant focus on environmental action, including reducing the impact of industry and delivering “green growth”. The CryptoUK team and our members Circle, Zumo and Curveblock were able to engage attendees in discussions of the many ways our industry is seeking to decarbonise and reduce its environmental impact.
Cautiously curious about crypto
Our discussions with Labour Party candidates and MPs revealed a need for additional engagement and support in understanding the sector given the levels of intrigue from attendees.
This requirement was underscored during the CryptoUK team’s conversation with former Labour Party Whip Lord Iain McNicol. Who, during a wide-ranging discussion, highlighted that the advocacy and education work undertaken by CryptoUK and the Crypto and Digital Assets APPG was essential to improving the party’s comprehension and perception of the crypto industry.
The CryptoUK team noted that conversations were tinged with slight trepidation around engaging with a potentially contentious issue for the party. However, despite this we held discussions with a large number of conference participants, who shared that they are open to learning more about crypto and were pleased to see industry representation at conference.
A fairer future for money
CryptoUK’s fringe event ‘A Fairer Future for Money’ was standing room only and packed with MPs, policymakers and journalists. The panel comprised: Ian Taylor, Board Advisor, CryptoUK and Head of Crypto & Digital Assets KPMG; Teana Baker-Taylor, Vice President, Policy and Regulatory, Circle and CryptoUK NED; Devina Paul, CFO, Zumo; and Joey Jones Co-Founder, CurveBlock.
Hosting the event enabled us to gather Labour Party members’ views on the digital assets industry, through open conversation and via our survey which we distributed to the audience. The feedback and responses received will enable us to tailor our engagement with the Shadow Cabinets Minister and beyond.
The event presented a valuable opportunity to set out CryptoUK’s key positions and messages. During the discussion, the panellists and the audience explored the opportunities presented by the growth of the crypto and digital assets industry, as well as the challenges for policymakers in general and for a potential future Labour Government in particular.
The panel specifically addressed the potential benefits of a regulated industry, linking them to Labour Party policy positions and initiatives. The conversation covered fairer and more transparent financial services for all, improving financial inclusion and how blockchain-based technologies can improve the efficiency and efficacy of the UK’s financial systems.
Crypto’s contribution to international development was also on the agenda. Here the panellists were able to highlight that cryptocurrencies and digital assets have proven highly effective in facilitating fast and unencumbered donations in times of global humanitarian crisis, such as the relief efforts in Ukraine, and more recently in Turkey and Syria.
Protecting consumers from harm was an important topic for this audience, and the panel were able to debunk some commonly held misconceptions and champion the industry’s unique capabilities and efforts in the fight against economic crime.
The panel recognised concerns about the digital asset industry’s environmental impact, and demonstrated that the sector is already exploring innovative ways to address this issue. Devina Paul from Zumo spoke eloquently about the company’s Net Zero journey and Teana Baker-Taylor from Circle showcased the ways crypto miners are adapting their operations to meet energy challenges.
CryptoUK will continue to engage meaningfully with the Labour Party at all levels over the next 12 months ahead of the next general election as part of its longer term engagement plans.
This will include tailored engagement with the Shadow Cabinet and special advisors, hosting drop-in education sessions in Parliament and much more. We will involve our members in these initiatives wherever relevant.