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Report: Over Two Million U.K. Citizens Own Cryptocurrency

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Bitcoin FCA
Bitcoin FCA

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The United Kingdom is one of the top tech hotspots in the world. However, the country is gradually becoming a crypto haven. Earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country’s top financial regulator, published a report which showed that crypto adoption is growing gradually.

Growing Adoption Amid Regulatory Uncertainty

The report, which the FCA titled “Cryptoasset consumer research 2020,” highlighted some progress made with crypto awareness and adoption in the country. It formed the regulator’s most comprehensive report on digital assets to date, and amongst other things, it revealed that 2.6 million people on the island now own cryptocurrencies.

This percentage makes up for less than 10 percent of the U. K’s total population, which estimates peg currently at about 67 million. However, it shows significant progress in a country that many believed could end up being hostile to digital assets.

For years now, there have been renewed calls to legalize cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom. Many believed that with the United States stalling on providing progressive regulation, there could be some success across the pond. However, things haven’t exactly materialized as industry experts have hoped.

In 2018, the U.S. Cryptoassets Task Force published a report that proposed possible crypto regulations. At the time, the task force did highlight that digital assets can help to facilitate easier transactions. However, the vast majority of the report painted these assets in a bad light.

The report led to speculations that a ban was on the way. In 2019, the Financial Times reported that investigations into crypto-related crimes had increased by 74 percent over the previous year.

The FCA also reported that crypto investors in the U.K. had lost over $34 million from crypto and forex scams from 2018 to 2019. With all the angst against cryptocurrencies, it’s quite laudable that the government hasn’t chosen to ban the assets yet.

The FCA’s Absolute Control Over Crypto Matters

The British government has resigned control of the region’s crypto space. Per reports, Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said last year that the agency operates independently from government. So, decisions on a ban would be at its discretion.

However, perhaps the fact that a growing percentage of the population is getting into digital assets might be enough to persuade the regulator against a ban.

For now, the FCA has mostly taken power as far as crypto regulation is concerned. Earlier this year, it became the sole anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) supervisor of UK-based cryptocurrency businesses. It also allowed the introduction of the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) – a decision that didn’t quite sit well with many crypto businesses, forcing them to close shop.

The FCA did point out that the incidence of crypto-based illegal activities in the U.K. reduced drastically since it adopted the AMLD5. So, there’s a little probability that it would be softening its stance on that rule.

In general, the Cryptoasset consumer research 2020 saw the FCA committing to working with the Bank of England and the British government to understand and address the possible harms that digital assets could pose.

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