UK Finance Lobbyist Wants More Consumer Protection for Crypto

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In Brief
  • U.K. financial lobbyist TheCityUK is pushing for greater protection regarding crypto assets.

  • Firms marketing crypto to consumers need to be authorized and regulated, it says.

  • Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey is still skeptical about cryptocurrencies.

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U.K. financial lobbyist TheCityUK is pushing for greater protection regarding crypto assets, because they reportedly expose retail consumers to highly volatile markets.

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According to a report from the lobbyist, companies marketing crypto to consumers need to be authorized. They also highlighted that nearly ten million people in Britain owned digital assets this year. This figure is a 558% increase from 2018. 

Better regulation to attract investment

Despite the call for regulation and protection, TheCityUK is not inherently against cryptocurrencies. In fact, the lobbyist posits that providing a nuanced response would help attract more crypto-based companies to London.

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“Government and regulators have an important part to play,” CEO Miles Celic said in a statement. “They must set safe and robust rules for this burgeoning sector, while ensuring they don’t inadvertently squash good ideas before they can mature and flourish.”

TheCityUK highlighted the U.K.’s presidency of the G-7 group of countries this year. According to the lobbyist, this would give the country a platform to lead crypto oversight, enabling coordination with other countries.

However, TheCityUK stressed that the reforms would need to come quickly. According to the lobbyist, some feel that the U.K. is beginning to lag behind other countries regarding a crypto framework. “Clarity on the regulation of crypto assets and related services such as issuance, trading and safekeeping will determine firms’ appetites to use the U.K. to launch innovative products and services,” it said.

Bank of England skepticism

Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey maintains his skepticism regarding the emerging asset class. Taking a contrary stance to the lobbying firm, he says there’s a danger of “getting carried away” with financial innovation. 

While Bailey admits that general financial innovation is good for the economy, he bemoans crypto’s lack of intrinsic value. “I don’t want to be seen as a Luddite,” Bailey said, but he finds crypto assets “dangerous,” while also remarking on their “huge enthusiasm.”

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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