Tough rules needed to ‘detoxify’ crypto market, says UK financial watchdog

The need for tougher rules to detoxify the crypto market and protect consumer assets has been echoed by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In recent years, cryptocurrencies have gained popularity as investors look to diversify their portfolios and explore new investment opportunities. However, the lack of regulation in this sector has led to conflicts of interest, fraud, and other illegal activities.

While many countries have been grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrencies, the UK is taking a proactive stance in regulating the industry. According to Ashley Alder, the new chair of the FCA, rules for cryptocurrencies should be just as strict as those in mainstream finance.

Alder has expressed concerns about the need for cryptocurrencies to “detoxify” and adapt to a regulatory framework that would force radical changes in their business model. With the UK planning to regulate cryptocurrencies under a new financial services law this year, it is important for the industry to comply with regulators and clean up its act.

One of the major issues the FCA has identified is a lack of basic anti-money laundering safeguards in many crypto firms. In fact, 85% of cryptocurrency firms that applied for permission to operate in the UK were rejected by the FCA due to non-compliance with these safeguards. Some firms were even found to have near deliberate multiple conflicts of interest and inadequate safeguarding of customer assets.

The FCA’s call for tougher regulation comes in the wake of the cryptocurrency market’s volatility and the collapse of several crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency companies operating without proper safeguards put consumer funds at risk and ultimately threaten the integrity of the entire financial system.

In addition to tightening rules and regulations, the FCA has taken action against illegal cryptocurrency cashpoints in London. The agency, along with local police, has worked to protect consumers from fraudulent activities by shutting down unregulated operations.

Alder was also questioned by lawmakers regarding a letter from his predecessor, Charles Randell, in which he described speculative cryptocurrency trading as “gambling pure and simple.” Randell recommended that the industry be regulated and taxed in the same manner as gambling, with levies used to support debt advice and addiction services.

While Alder did not directly respond to Randell’s letter, his comments suggest a shared concern about the risks associated with unregulated cryptocurrency activities. The FCA is focused on ensuring that the industry is held to the same standards as mainstream finance, with appropriate safeguards in place to protect consumers and investors alike.

In conclusion, the FCA’s call for tougher regulation in the cryptocurrency market is a necessary step to safeguard consumer assets and ensure the integrity of the financial system. The UK’s approach to regulation can serve as a model for other countries seeking to tackle the challenges posed by cryptocurrencies. It is important for the industry to recognize the need for compliance and transparency if it hopes to earn the trust of regulators and investors.


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