Lord Philip Hammond isn’t angry. He’s just “disappointed”. Or at least, that’s how he feels about the UK’s progress on regulating cryptocurrency.

Speaking exclusively to Financial News, the former chancellor-turned-crypto enthusiast criticised the government for thus far failing to turn the UK into a crypto leader, as the EU presses ahead with plans for a new rulebook.

Rishi Sunak was chancellor when, in April, the UK government said it would turn the UK into a global crypto asset technology hub. But some firms have voiced concerns that the UK’s recent chaotic political climate combined with staff shortages at the Financial Conduct Authority has stymied the process.

Hammond said: “I’m a little disappointed that the UK is as far behind as it is, because I think the UK not only has the opportunity and the track record of being pretty good at exploiting regulatory opportunities…but clearly post-Brexit thinking about our future as a financial services centre, we also have the burning platform that ought to give us the motive to get on and do this.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

Breaking: New crypto bro alert

It was just a matter of time before Boris Johnson became a crypto bro, right?

The former prime minister has been unveiled as a keynote speaker for this year’s International Symposium on Blockchain Advancements in Singapore

The event happens on 2 December, and will also feature Dick Cheney, the former US vice president, say organisers.

Because why not, eh?

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State your intentions

State Street’s head of digital assets Nadine Chakar is leaving her role, in a setback for the world’s second-largest custodian bank as its competitors press on with blockchain strategies.

Chakar, who recently told FN in an interview that State Street was going “super gung ho” on tokenisation — the converting of assets into digital form on the blockchain —declined to comment on where she is heading next.

State Street has between 400 and 450 people on its digital assets team, one of the largest in the traditional finance world, but risks losing ground to other banks if it does not replace Chakar fast.

Bank of New York Mellon said on 11 October it would begin receiving clients’ cryptocurrencies, becoming the first major US player to safeguard digital assets alongside traditional investments on the same platform.

News from around the web

Mainland China has been famously anti-crypto for some time — but Hong Kong is now set to embrace it. The territory this week announced a public consultation on giving retail investors access to digital assets.

One of the main concerns of many crypto sceptics is that it can be used as payment for illicit activities. Well, that has been given more weight, after the Internet Watch Foundation found the number of websites accepting crypto as payment for child sexual abuse material has more than doubled every year since 2018, with the figure now sitting at more than 1,000, per the Financial Times.

Elon Musk finally walked into the Twitter offices on 28 November and surveyed his new kingdom, striking fear into the hearts of tweet-obsessed media types the world over. Part of his plans are, reportedly, to bring in a whole host of new blockchain-enabled functions for the platform. Bloomberg has the low down.

It’s a Dogg eat Dogg world out there…

Musicians like Snoop Dogg, Nas and the Kings of Leon have been invested in crypto for some time. But what about the rest of the music industry?

It turns out artist managers, label chiefs and promoters are now following ‘Tha Doggfather’ into cryptoland and setting up their own ventures.

FN spoke to Wave Financial’s co-founder – and former artist manager – Les Borsai, who said even a dramatic market crash slashing coin values and jobs across the sector in recent months had left him unfazed compared to the “lunatics” of the music industry. 

“You just don’t get those kinds of problems in finance,” he says. “It’s like a vacation.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Alex Daniel

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