Ex-UK Chancellor Philip Hammond Urges Accelerated Efforts to Become Crypto Hub: FT

Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond says the country has allowed itself to fall behind some of its neighbors in establishing itself as a crypto hub.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Hammond, who has been named as the new chair of crypto custodian Copper, said the U.K. needs to accelerate efforts to establish a more effective regulatory regime for digital assets.

Last year, then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is now prime minister, laid out ambitions of turning the country into a crypto hub with plans such as bringing stablecoins into the country's payment systems. A policy document on how crypto should be governed is now overdue, however financial-services minister Andrew Griffith this week said it would be ready in a "matter of certainly weeks, not months."

“The UK needs to be leading in this area post-Brexit,” Hammond said. "It’s allowed itself to slip behind. Switzerland is further ahead. The EU is also moving faster. There has to be appetite to take some measured risk.”

The custodian was among the firms that withdrew its application to register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last year, pivoting to Switzerland. Hammond blamed the move on the slowness of the FCA and said that Copper hopes to return to the U.K. in the future.

Hammond, who was U.K.'s chancellor – or finance minister – from 2016 to 2019, joined Copper as an adviser in 2021.

Copper is also close to finalizing another funding round, which would value the firm at $2 billion, Hammond told the FT. Copper last raised $196 million in October last year. Its valuation at the time wasn't disclosed.

The firm did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for further comment.

Read more: UK Minister Commits to Greater Crypto Industry Engagement as New Regulation Looms