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News Report

Britain Lagging Behind in Race to Become Crypto Hub, Says Former UK Finance Minister

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James

In Brief

  • Philip Hammond, the former Finance Minister of the UK is concerned about the nation slipping behind its vision to become a crypto hub.
  • He recently got appointed as the chairman of the crypto exchange Copper.
  • The UK government gradually moves towards crypto regulation.
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Philip Hammond, the former UK Finance Minister, warned that the nation needs to catch up in its vision to become a crypto hub.

Crypto enthusiasts were optimistic about mass adoption when Rishi Sunak was appointed as the new Prime Minister of the UK. This was primarily because the PM tweeted while he was the nation’s Finance Minister, “We’re working to make the UK a global cryptoassets hub.”

Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, expressed his concerns about the UK slipping behind in the race to establish itself as the crypto hub. He recently took over the responsibility as the chairman of the crypto exchange Copper. The crypto exchange caters to institutional investors with custody, prime brokerage, and settlement services.

Philip Hammond warned the UK is slipping behind the race to crypto regulation

The former Finance Minister of the UK told the Financial Times, “The UK needs to be leading in this area post-Brexit. It’s allowed itself to slip behind. Switzerland is further ahead. The EU is also moving faster. There has to be an appetite to take some measured risk.”

Copper had to pull back its registration form from the UK last year due to apparent slow processing from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The firm later got registered in Switzerland. Can this be the reason for Hammond praising Switzerland over the UK?

Philip Hammond also mentioned that Copper is about to close new funding at the valuation of $2 billion. In July last year, it secured Series C funding from Barclays at the same valuation. It is also worth noting that the firm aspired to raise $500 million at a valuation of $3 billion from Tiger Global and SoftBank Group, but it was held back in the brawl with FCA.

UK takes one step at a time for crypto regulation

The UK is sending mixed signals on whether it has a pro-crypto or anti-crypto stance. The Advertising Standard Authorities have constantly clashed with crypto companies, most notably trying to prevent “misleading advertisements.”

However, strict advertising rules are the need of the hour, particularly after last year’s events of the collapse of multiple crypto companies that aggressively advertised their offerings.

The UK National Crime Agency has also established a dedicated unit to tackle cryptocurrency-related crime. The agency has been looking to hire a blockchain expert for its crypto unit.

Further, the Edinburg Reform, announced in Dec. 2022, noted that the government aims to establish a safe regulatory environment for stablecoins. It mentioned the Rishi Sunak government’s intention to  bring a “broader range of investment-related crypto assets activities into regulation.” 

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