Theresa May — Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — signaled that her administration will look “very seriously” at bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The decision comes as the popularity of cryptocurrencies is alleged to be growing among criminals. May’s new statement comes as South Korea works to de-anonymize crypto trading.
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U.K. Getting Toughter?
In a new interview with Bloomberg’s John Micklethwait, May expressed regulatory measures will likely be necessitated “precisely because of the way [cryptocurrencies] are used, particularly by criminals.”
Ironically, May also just noted at the ongoing international summit in Davos, Switzerland, that her administration wants to allure tech companies once Britain exits European Union after “Brexit” — ironic because suggesting a possible crackdown on the cryptocurrency space is a bad way to allure the newest wave of tech companies.
But such potential regulations shouldn’t cause much panic, says Kevin Murcko, CEO of virtual currency exchange CoinMetro:
“Regulation in the UK may not necessarily be a bad thing for the digital asset economy: government regulation is a legitimizing force. New regulations would mean people would feel safer investing in cryptocurrencies, as fraudulent brokers will be excluded from the market.”
U.K. Treasury Interested in Bitcoin
Philip Hammond — Head of Her Majesty’s Treasury — recently expressed he and the Bank of England are very much interested in the current number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
“I think we should be cautious about Bitcoin and possibly we do need to look at the way we regulate this environment before the amount of outstanding Bitcoin becomes large enough to be systemically important in the global economy. It is not there yet but it could get there soon,” Hammond told Bloomberg in Davos.
Additionally, the Chancellor indicated in the years ahead it will be crucial not to restrict the promising technology underpinning bitcoin, blockchain technology.
Where do you stand? Do you see the British government moving toward or against cryptocurrencies, or something in the middle? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images via Reuters, Maynard.co