U.K. Must Hasten Crypto Rules to Win Business, Lobby Group Says

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Britain must speed up protections for cryptoassets that are exposing retail consumers to volatile markets, according to TheCityUK, a lobby group for the U.K. finance industry.

Firms marketing crypto to consumers need to be authorized and regulated, the group said in a report on Monday, noting that nearly 10 million people in Britain owned digital assets this year, up 558% from 2018. A nimble and nuanced response will help attract more of the companies and transactions involved in the nascent asset class to London.

“Government and regulators have an important part to play,” Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer of TheCityUK, said in a statement. “They must set safe and robust rules for this burgeoning sector -- while ensuring they don’t inadvertently squash good ideas before they can mature and flourish.”

The group said the U.K.’s presidency of the G-7 group of countries this year gives it the platform to lead oversight of crypto and encourage coordination with other countries.

The U.K. needs to act quickly because “there are some market perceptions that the U.K. is beginning to trail by comparison” to other countries’ regulatory frameworks, the group said in the report. “Clarity on the regulation of cryptoassets and related services such as issuance, trading and safekeeping will determine firms’ appetites to use the U.K. to launch innovative products and services.”

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