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Industry leaders give mixed response to FCA consultation
Industry leaders give mixed response to FCA consultation Financial body urged to lay down regulation guidelines that will raise the bar of standards for cryptocurrency use With just a month to go before the closing date of the Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on crypto regulation, leading figures within the industry are calling for more clarity from the independent body. The FCA is looking to provide a full guidance package on digital assets in a drive to set out specific guidance for users of cryptocurrency. Although welcoming the consultation, some major influencers are suggesting that take-up of crypto assets by many people in the UK and the rest of the world has been hindered by uncertainty over regulation. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has led the vanguard in the fight to bring regulation to the top of the crypto agenda. Throughout much of 2018, the SEC cracked down on exchanges, ICOs, and individuals it felt were operating on the wrong side of normal restrictions. Momentum The FCA is now looking to replicate the momentum created by the SEC by outlining its own plans for regulation of crypto assets in the UK. However, some major industry figures are keen to point out that the FCA’s paper sets out an already-proposed policy and, therefore, comments before its April 5th deadline could be largely academic. Author and Coin Rivet columnist Dominic Frisby welcomed the consolation, but criticised a “lack of clarity” from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK’s tax office. “Bitcoin is now in its 10th year and yet still in many countries around the world regulation is not clear,” he said. Dominic Frisby “Bitcoin has exposed just how backward-looking and slow many authorities are. I do not know what the opposite of preemptive is, but they have been that. He said the UK had been one of the leading countries in terms of regulation, but called for more decisive action to help businesses. “Business needs clear and simple regulation to thrive, and if the UK can lead, it will attract new crypto business,” he added. Laggard “HMRC has, to nobody’s surprise, been rather more laggard, and many Bitcoin investors have complained about HMRC’s lack of clarity – which is another issue in itself.” Meanwhile, the chairman of CryptoUK – Iqbal V Gandham – urged policymakers to arm businesses with the tools they need to grow in the digital world. “We welcome the FCA’s recognition that it needs to provide clarity and certainty to crypto asset firms on its regulatory perimeter,” he said. “This is an important first step towards proportionate, well-designed regulation for our fast-growing industry. Iqbal Gandham “While recognising that it is the FCA’s role to prevent consumer harm, it is imperative that policymakers balance this with a framework which enables the sector to grow, attract inward investment, and supports the UK as a global hub for the industry, as we’ve seen in other forward-thinking markets. “The paper acknowledges that only a small proportion of the world’s crypto exchanges are based in the UK compared with elsewhere. We firmly believe this will change with a proportionate and balanced regulatory framework, which would give crypto businesses the reassurance and security needed to base themselves here.
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