Brexit Britain Can’t Rope-In Crypto Cowboys Alone
Bloomberg contributor Lionel Laurent believes that Brexit Britain needs to get serious about regulating the crypto industry. Yet, he’s skeptical it can be done alone.
It’s clear from a September 21st Bloomberg article that regulation-cozy Lionel Laurent believes crypto regulation needs to be an international effort. EU-friendly Laurent believes that Brexit Britain simply cannot go it alone.
Crypto needs a leash, but it’s laughable to think that the City of London can hold it on its own.
The UK Tries Taming the Wild West
Laurent echoes a common sentiment out of the UK, which is the notion of crypto as a wild and untamed realm. On September 20th, Bitcoinist reported on the UK Treasury Committee’s Digital Currencies inquiry. The report insists on repeatedly using the term “Wild West” as an analogy for the crypto landscape.
The Committee’s report itself is highly self-reflective. In the conclusions, bullet 22 states:
Crypto-assets have been embedded in certain pockets of society and industry, and it is highly likely that they are here to stay. The UK Government and financial services regulators appear to be deciding whether they will allow the current “wild west” situation to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation.
The report also notes the haze surrounding the Committee’s plans on moving forward:
The current ambiguity surrounding the Government’s and the regulators’ positions is clearly not sustainable.
As if the Committee’s fixation on the 1800’s American West wasn’t enough, Lionel Laurent seems to have a similar conception of crypto — likening crypto figures to “cowboys:”
Indeed, any international push to properly regulate the crypto-cowboys would be laudable. The possibility of fraud and market manipulation is absurdly high. There has been $2.3 billion in exchange hacks and scams over the past seven years, according to research firm Crypto Aware.
International Solutions for International Impact
According to Laurent, few indicators point to Brexit Britain finding the ability to leverage comprehensive crypto-regulation on their own. At this point, says Laurent, grasping at the “low-hanging” fruit of crypto-regulation is the only option for the UK in light of Brexit:
The fight against money-laundering and financial crime needs serious funding and regional co-operation, both of which will be hampered by an exit from the EU.
Laurent also notes that, although it pales in comparisons to mainstream currencies, in the future Crypto may threaten to destabilize financial systems across the globe. The interconnectedness of the modern financial system surely underpins Laurent’s outlook on international cooperation.
Current regulatory sentiments from the UK arrive roughly a year after Bitcoin’s (BTC) 00 record high.
Laurent believes that crypto regulation can fully harness the positive aspects of crypto — while keeping the dangers at bay. Brexit Britain stands to lose out not only on the full benefits of comprehensive regulation but on other niceties offered by inclusion in the EU:
a Brexit Britain that goes it alone on regulation might miss out on broader efforts such as the EU’s anti-money-laundering directive that now covers crypto-exchanges.
Bitcoinist recently reported that while prices have gone down, crypto has gained popularity in the UK. With this in mind, it seems inevitable that the UK will move forward attempting to comprehensively regulate the crypto-sphere.
Now the question simply remains: Is doing this without the EU simply wishful thinking?
What are your thoughts about the UK’s attempt to regulate crypto without the EU? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.