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Coinbase Shifts Focus to the UK as the US Remains a Regulatory Bog

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong hailed the UK for 'moving fast on sensible crypto regulation.'
  • Armstrong believes that the UK also faces ramping difficulties.
  • Will the exchange start shifting even more focus to the UK amid the SEC crackdown?
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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong hailed the U.K. for ‘moving fast on sensible crypto regulations’ amid a regulatory firestorm in the U.S.

However, the chief of the Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange believes that the U.K. also faces ramping difficulties with fiat conversions.

Hailing UK as the Web3 Innovation Hub

Coinbase CEO believes the U.K. has been one of its highest growth markets. And he states that implementing Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) in E.U. member states would establish a new licensing framework.

While Armstrong said he is ‘excited to keep investing in the U.K.,’ he also called for good fraud controls. The executive said, ‘Some U.K. banks are blocking fiat payments to crypto companies which is not ok.’

‘Good fraud controls make sense, a blanket ban does not (and is likely not lawful). Needs further education and collaboration,’ he added.

Nonetheless, Coinbase chief believes the U.K. is preparing for a fundamental shift. He notes that the country is changing in how it uses and views money while moving to a digital economy.

He stated, ‘Some 22% of U.K. adults currently own cryptocurrency, with 28% likely to buy or trade crypto in the next 12 months. Demand is increasing.’

Coinbase: 9 Recommendations for UK Crypto Regulation Landscape

Coinbase has outlined its U.K. vision in nine proposals. It says that if implemented, it would position itself as a regional leader. The recommendations ensure that Banks and FinTechs work together to speed up crypto innovation. The exchange emphasized that the banks take a risk-sensitive approach.

With a cross-departmental plan that takes advantage of the upcoming wave of digitalization, it calls on the government to put web3 and blockchain at the center of it. The biggest U.S. exchange also calls for a regulatory framework that draws on well-established traditional finance standards based on the principle of ‘same risk, same regulatory outcome.’

Additionally, it emphasizes striking a balance between industry investment, investor protection, and financial inclusion. The 24-hour ‘cooling off’ period before performing cryptocurrency transactions, according to Coinbase, should be replaced with more practical measures like disclosure and education.

Additionally, it urges the creation of a legislative framework that supports stablecoins while building on their advantages by creating a “sandbox” for digital innovation.

It also noted, ‘Make important changes to the U.K. legal framework to reflect tech developments and deliver certainty on digital property rights and a crypto collateral regime.’

Coinbase also calls on the government to clarify how U.K. tax laws will treat crypto assets in a way that equalizes them with conventional financial activity. Decentralized identifications are also being looked into as a new solution using blockchain technology in various industries.

Digital Identity Infographic by Microsoft Security
Digital Identity Infographic by Microsoft Security

State of the US Crypto Market

While Coinbase is pushing focus in the U.K., the U.S. SEC is reportedly going after Bittrex. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the regulator informed the exchange in March that it could sue the platform for allegedly breaking investor protection regulations.

The securities regulator also invited public comments recently with a proposal to include decentralized cryptocurrency platforms in the definition of an ‘exchange,’ thus broadening the scope of existing regulations.

Meanwhile, as political resistance to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rises, Congressman Warren Davidson presented new crypto regulation legislation. Davidson is targeting the chair’s office in response to the current crackdown.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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