UK Cracks Down on Illicit Crypto Use

UK regulators are planning a “comprehensive response” to the illicit adoption of cryptocurrencies by local retailers and consumers, according to a statement by Cristopher Woolard of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Although the prosecution is preparing to take the legal road, Woolard, the executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA said that he does not see cryptocurrencies as a threat to the economic and financial stability of the country.

The FCA is a successor to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and is primarily focused on the regulation of conduct by both wholesale and retail services firms. Although a financial regulatory body, the Authority operates independently from the Government of UK and finances itself by charging fees to members of the financial services industry. The FCA came into existence on 1st April 2103 after the Financial Services Act abolished the FSA.

The official confirmed in a statement at the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies event in London that the regulators are in the process of cracking down on the illicit crypto trading inside the country. Reacting to the steep increase in cryptocurrency use in recent years in the UK, he stated that the FCA is seeking to collaborate with the Bank of England and Her Majesty’s Treasury. They will examine the impact of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology on the consumers and how it affects the market integrity and if it increases the risk of financial crime.

HMT is also gearing up to act against illicit crypto trading.

To combat financial crime risks, the treasury will undertake one of the most comprehensive responses globally to the use of crypto assets for illicit activities…

– Cristopher Woolard

He also added that the HMT would be going further than what has been mandated by the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, implying the gravity of the situation.

Despite the seemingly aggressive approach to illicit cryptocurrency trading, Woolard reiterated the Financial Stability Board do not view the advent of cryptocurrency as a threat to the national economic stability. The executive also expressed his hope that retailers and consumers would continue to keep adopting digital currencies in their daily tradings, albeit through legal channels.