UK Wants Crypto Companies, Not Criminals, Digital Minister Says

The U.K.’s digital minister is stressing his government’s wish to make the country a worldwide hub for cryptocurrency activity, even as he expressed caution about illegal activity.

“We do intend the United Kingdom and London to be crypto centers,” Chris Philp told Bloomberg Radio Wednesday (June 15). “But of course, we’ve got to do that in a way that protects the public and in particular pays attention to issues concerning for example money laundering, and making sure that crypto is not used as a way to circumvent things like sanctions.”

See also: UK Stakes Claim to Crypto Leadership, Cites Friendly Regulatory Climate

In April, the British treasury said it wanted to make the U.K. a global crypto center. As PYMNTS reported at the time, Economic Secretary John Glen has argued the country has a strong and  globally-recognized legal system that would be a “huge asset … in making the U.K. an attractive hub for all things digital.”

Glen also argued the country has a compact enforcement framework, saying that, unlike the U.S. and EU, its “small number of regulators” can “move nimbly.”

In his Bloomberg interview, Philp said the U.K. treasury is working with the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to ensure the proper regulatory balance was being struck.

Read more: EU Commissioner Urges Parliament to Adopt Crypto Rules to Protect Consumers

His comments came one day after Mairead McGuinness, the European Union’s Commissioner for financial services, told the European Parliament that passage of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation is urgent, providing “the right tool to address the concerns about consumer protection, market integrity and financial stability.”

And all of this is happening against the backdrop of the approaching “crypto winter.” The industry has struggled lately with rising interest rates and a number of high-profile collapses, such as that of the Terra blockchain. Bitcoin on Wednesday came close to dropping below $20,000 for the first time in 18 months, and several crypto companies have begun instituting layoffs.

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