An inquiry into cryptocurrencies has been launched by an influential UK parliamentary committee. The Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons announced today that it will begin hearings on “digital currencies and distributed ledger technology”.
Contrary to reports on CoinDesk and elsewhere, the Treasury Select Committee is not an arm of the government or HM Treasury, and as such it can only make recommendations as opposed to laying down rules and regulations.
Nevertheless, the committee has the power to take oral and written evidence from both regulators and industry bodies as well as cross-examine individuals at its hearings. The reports of parliamentary committees can sometimes act as the foundation upon which legislation is brought forward by government.
Nicky Morgan MP, the chair of the parliamentary committee and a former secretary of state for education, says the inquiry will assess the “regulatory response” of the UK’s main financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as the attitude of government and the position of the Bank of England, the country’s independent central bank.
Morgan, a member of parliament for the ruling Conservative party, worries that consumers are oblivious to the lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency arena. “People are becoming increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but they may not be aware that they are currently unregulated in the UK, and that there is no protection for individual investors,” said the lawmaker.