U.K. Releases Economic Crime Plan That Addresses Crypto Assets

The Economic Crime Plan (2019–22) released by the U.K. government and the trade association UK Finance details regulatory action on cryptocurrencies to prevent their use in criminal activities.

According to the document, the government is working closely with businesses to bring together private and public sectors in an attempt to tackle fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption.

“By bringing together leaders from across government, law enforcement and business, we can better tackle the scourge of dirty money, and ensure the U.K. continues to be one of the safest places in the world to invest and do business,” the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said in a government announcement about the plan.

Among the new regulations are ones that specifically address crypto assets, including new anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulations that will be implemented in January 2020.

The new plan will establish the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s financial watchdog, as the supervisor of the regulations. The goal is to create a strict AML/CFT regime that will prevent illicit activities.

According to the plan, “This will aim to not only meet the latest international standards but provide one of the most comprehensive responses globally to the use of cryptoassets for illicit activity.”

Earlier this month, the FCA proposed a ban on retail investors in the U.K. purchasing crypto derivatives, arguing that such products are not suitable for them due to the risks involved. Around the same time, the investment management firm Prime Factor Capital Ltd. became the first crypto-focused hedge fund to be authorized by the FCA.

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