A former chancellor of the United Kingdom has raised concerns that the country is falling behind its rivals in the European Union in regulating crypto.
Philip Hammond, who served as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2016 to 2019, told Bloomberg that there has been a distinct lack of direction and cohesion when it comes to crypto politics.
“Particularly in the area of digital asset trading, I feel the UK has missed a trick […] We are approaching the point where it will be too late. Other jurisdictions are ahead of us.”
“The problem is that there are no regulations and no one knows exactly where they stand, right? It’s a bit of a wild west and, quite frankly, has garnered a mixed reputation, particularly with policymakers and politicians and the general public.”
He also stressed that the development of a digital trading infrastructure will be key to making the UK a hub for trading in tokenized traditional assets such as tokenized shares and tokenized bonds.
“Getting this right, getting the rules around digital commerce right, will be essential to being a player in the digitization of traditional financial assets.”
“The jurisdictions that have adopted this technology and regulated it properly and effectively will be the ones that will develop these markets and become new hubs.”
The former minister’s criticism came despite promises by the UK government in May to introduce legislation to regulate the crypto industry.
Hammond said that while the country has historically been “very agile in adopting new technologies,” it hasn’t been as evident when it comes to crypto regulation, adding that this likely reflects a mix between a “bandwidth issue” and ” Bandwidth” is attributed to a “capacity problem”.
“This is a very new area of technology. It is very difficult for public bodies with public salary structures to hire the best and brightest in these fields.”
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“I personally think so [Financial Conduct Authority] FCA should have gone to the branch and said we need secondees. We can’t, you know, we can’t hire the people we need. We need industry to provide us with the talent to devise the regimes we need to put in place.”
In her defence, Hammond said regulators were going through a period of tremendous stress dealing with the fallout from Brexit, Covid-19 and its impact on their own working arrangements.
Hammond is no stranger to the crypto industry and has currently, since October 2011, served as Senior Advisor to Copper.co, a London-based start-up providing custody and infrastructure services in the digital asset space.