Former Chancellor Says UK Is Falling Behind Crypto Opportunity

A former UK chancellor has expressed concern that the country is falling behind its rivals in the European Union when it comes to crypto regulation.

Philip Hammond, who served as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2016 to 2019, told Bloomberg that there has been a clear lack of direction and cohesion when it comes to crypto politics.

“Particularly in the area of ​​digital asset trading, I feel like the UK has missed a trick. […] We are getting very close to the point where it will be too late. Other jurisdictions are running ahead of us.”

“The problem is that there are no regulations and nobody knows very well what their position is, right? It’s a bit of a wild west, and frankly, it’s gained a mixed reputation, particularly among lawmakers, politicians, and the public.”

He also emphasized that the development of digital trading infrastructure will be key to making the UK a hub for trading traditional tokenized assets such as tokenized shares and tokenized bonds.

“Getting this right, getting the rules on digital trading right, will be an essential prerequisite to being a player in the digitization of traditional financial assets.”

“The jurisdictions that have embraced this technology and regulated it appropriately and effectively will be the ones to develop these markets and become the new hubs.”

The criticism from the former minister came despite promises by the UK government in May to introduce legislation to regulate the crypto industry.

Hammond said that while the country has been “very agile in adopting new technology” in the past, this has not been as apparent when it comes to crypto regulation, adding that it is likely due to a combination between a “problem of bandwidth” and a “capacity problem”.

“This is a very new area of ​​technology. It is very difficult for public sector bodies with public sector salary structures to hire the best and the brightest in these areas.”

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“Personally, I think the [Financial Conduct Authority] FCA should have gone to the industry and said we need secondees. We can’t, you know, we can’t hire the people that we need. We need the industry to give us the talent to craft the regimens we need to introduce.”

In his defence, Hammond said regulators have been dealing with a period of great stress due to the fallout from Brexit, Covid-19 and its impact on their own working arrangements.

Hammond is no stranger to the cryptocurrency industry and is currently serving as Principal Advisor to since October 2011, a London-based startup that provides custody and infrastructure services in the digital asset sector.