Bitcoin Policy UK (BPUK), a Bitcoin-only policy organization in the United Kingdom, is aiming to increase Bitcoin adoption in the country. The group is comprised of entrepreneurs, environmentalists, and Bitcoin advocates who aim to unite stakeholders, policymakers, tax specialists, Bitcoin experts, and miners to explore how the decentralized currency’s burgeoning industry could benefit UK households, businesses, and communities. The BPUK’s primary objectives are to drive investment, prepare students for the Bitcoin jobs of the future, raise awareness and education, and explore the use of wasted and stranded energy resources for Bitcoin mining.
According to Head of Policy Freddie New, the genesis of the project was the Bitcoin Collective Conference in Edinburgh, which was the UK’s largest Bitcoin conference that took place in the autumn of 2022. Most of the team had been working on Bitcoin advocacy in one way or another before the conference, but coming together like this will enable them to formalize their efforts and focus on three key related areas. These areas include getting clear and correct information on Bitcoin to policymakers and regulators, highlighting the environmental and sustainability benefits of the mining industry, and collating and providing educational resources for the next generation of Bitcoiners.
The BPUK includes advisers and board members who are familiar to Cointelegraph readers. Director DecentraSuze, author and journalist, whose son recently introduced Bitcoin to the classroom, is a director, while Jordan Walker, co-founder of the UK Bitcoin Collective, and Mark Morton are advisers. Morton’s Bitcoin mining company, Scilling Digital Mining, was featured in a recent Cointelegraph mini-documentary.
The BPUK is an important piece of the collective puzzle to drive Bitcoin education in the UK, according to Walker. New told Cointelegraph that the BPUK is not-for-profit. To operate, it hopes to raise funds through the community, tapping into the growing trend of funding projects with Satoshis, or small amounts of BTC, via the Lightning Network, a layer-2 instant payment solution built atop Bitcoin. Part of the team’s mission is to locate and harness renewable, wasted, or stranded energy across the UK. New explained that they are working to identify potential sites for sustainable mining, and their aim is to develop some small mining installations to use as ‘proof of concept’ sites. They can then invite British policymakers to these sites so they can see mines in action and hopefully understand more about the industry’s potential to mitigate vented methane, provide demand response for renewable grids, or simply act as a customer for energy that is otherwise wasted.
The UK has burgeoning renewable energy sources but lacks in hash rate (a measure of the Bitcoin protocol’s security). According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, the UK supports 0.23% of the global monthly hash rate, compared to the US’s 37.84%. This is partly due to electricity costs in the UK exceeding that of the US and Asia, but also due to Bitcoin mining awareness, or a lack thereof in the UK. Moreover, legacy media platforms have taken aim at the Bitcoin mining industry in recent years — the Guardian critiqued Bitcoin as “digital beef” instead of “digital gold.”
The BPUK highlights that in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union, it could develop a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency regime separate from that of MiCA in Europe. The European Parliamentary Committee on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA), may threaten Bitcoin mining on the continent. BPUK co-founder Krista Edmunds took inspiration from El Salvador’s decision to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. Edmunds explains that the UK has an immense opportunity to become one of the first jurisdictions globally to embrace Bitcoin. We have seen what is possible in El Salvador, which is experiencing huge gains due to its forward-thinking approach to Bitcoin. The UK can secure a similar competitive advantage, and we hope to support the British people in making that happen.
On the governmental side, the policy group will have an opportunity to educate and inform. Lisa Cameron, a Member of Parliament and Chairperson of The Crypto and Digital Assets All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), told Cointelegraph in an interview last year that the UK government has a policy vision that the UK will become an international hub of cryptocurrency and digital assets. She added that there was some confusion surrounding Bitcoin, CBDCs, and cryptocurrency.
As a Bitcoin-only organization, director New explains that, ultimately, the BPUK seeks to make sure that Bitcoin is included in the government’s proposals, if not at the front and center. The group aims to unlock the potential of Bitcoin in the UK and explore how the decentralized currency’s burgeoning industry could benefit UK households, businesses, and communities. With the growing trend of funding projects with Satoshis and the increasing awareness of renewable energy sources, the BPUK could be a significant player in the UK’s Bitcoin industry.