24 June 2023
Following on from the CryptoUK and Crypto and Digital Assets APPG Autumn 2022 fundraiser, during which CryptoUK and our fantastic members raised £120,000 for Ukraine through the charity United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), we wanted to continue the relationship developed with Alex Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, so we invited him to Westminster.
The minister kindly accepted the invite and a full event was titled ‘Power of Crypto and Emerging Technologies in Ukraine’. The event was held in Parliament on the 13th June and was an opportunity for UK MPs, Lords and industry to hear from the Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine about Ukraine’s use of crypto in response to the Russian invasion and Ukraine’s approach to regulation of emerging and innovative technologies.
The events and meetings with discussion points were as follows:
10am – 11am – Alex Bornyakov in conversation with Kings College London – Hosted by the APPG and CryptoUK at Portcullis House, Westminster:
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Government appealed for cryptocurrency donations and received over $100 million in cryptocurrency to support military and humanitarian efforts on the frontline.
Cryptocurrencies have been used by Ukrainians to buy crucial goods and services after critical infrastructure being damaged by attacks, leading to no cash in ATMs or access to bank branch services. Citizens from around the world have been able to support Ukraine and its people through cryptocurrency transactions, which are available to send and receive 24/7.
The APPG was honoured to hear from Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Alex Bornyakov who told us that cryptocurrency had been ‘essential’ to Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion.
“If we used the traditional financial system it was going to take days. We were able to secure the purchase of vital items in no time at all via crypto, and what is amazing is that around 60% of suppliers were able to accept crypto, I didn’t expect this.”
The Minister went on to provide a real use case where the Stella Foundation along with Circle (USDC Issuer) and Money Gram is providing cross border payments improving the settlement process as this as settlement with MoneyGram will occur in near-real-time using Circle’s USDC. This enables an accelerated collection of funds, improving efficiency and reducing risk and in the case humanitarian aid is cheaper, faster and most important can be assured it goes to the right person.
11:05-11:30am – Crypto Asset Debate – Westminster Hall – link to debate here
- The APPG’s report was the primary focus and thrust of the debate.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister Mr Andrew Griffith MP had a copy of the report in his hand and had read it.
He said it was balanced, a ‘good read’, and commended it to all politicians who wanted to learn more about the sector.
There were other contributions from MPs too including Alun Cairns who raised key issues concerning FCA registration and Bank Accounts. Alun Cairns also pressed the minister in person after the debate again on taking action on these issues.
And again, for the third time on official Parliamentary record, the Minister commended the work of the APPG in educating MPs and Lords about the sector.
Crypto UK is pleased to see after years of work that we are building a coalition of support in Westminster for the industry through the great work of the APPG.
11:35- 12:30 – Lunch in Parliament with Dr Lisa Cameron, Alex Bornyakov and CryptoUK
- A good chance to discuss global regulatory differences with the Ukraine minister and his staff
12.30 to 1.30 Downing Street Visit
A chance for Alex and his team to walk through the famous door and wander through the corridors of power:
Further meetings in the afternoon included:
- Stella, Circle and MoneyGram Partnership
Meeting with Viscount Camrose who is the Minister for Artificial Intelligence (In Parliament)
Meeting with Sir Ed Davey Leader of the Liberal Democrats:
Meeting with Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing and Dan Cook:
It was a pleasure to spend the day with the Minister and offer our support to Ukraine. It was also important for MP’s and Lords across all parties in government to hear first hand how crypto and blockchain technology technology has some real societal benefits.
There has been significant debate in the UK Parliament and the UK media about how the UK should regulate crypto and digital assets, and MPs and Lords in the UK are very interested to learn more about how other countries such as Ukraine have approached crypto and the potential use cases of this technology.
Lisa Cameron MP, Chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets APPG in Parliament recently concluded a 10 month Parliamentary inquiry into the UK Crypto and Digital Asset sector and published her findings in a report on 5th June 2023 which can be viewed here.
In her report Lisa referenced Ukraine as an example of how crypto can be used as a force for good in times of crisis.
Awareness and understanding of crypto in the UK Parliament remains low and MPs and Lords will be interested to hear how Ukraine utilised crypto in its response, and why, and what impact this has had for Ukraine.