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News/UK Readies for Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

UK Readies for Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

Van Thanh Le

Oct 26 2023

7 months ago3 minutes read
Chibi robot balancing justice scale and crypto coin

UK's Landmark Bill on Economic Crime and Crypto

Regulatory bills and legal frameworks are the glue that will shape the future of cryptocurrencies. Paramount among these is the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill in the UK, set to receive royal assent on October 26, 2023. 

This groundbreaking piece of legislation, first filed in September 2022, has successfully navigated all parliamentary stages in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.


Building upon the Foundation of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Gavel and coins representing UK crypto law.webp

The bill is pegged as a successor to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, furnishing it with an amplified focus on tackling cybercrime, scams, and drug trafficking. This provides regulatory authorities with a broader spectrum of control, ensuring criminals in these domains are reined in effectively. 


Power to Seize and Freeze Assets: A Game-Changing Provision

The bill introduces the legal provision for authorities to seize and freeze cryptocurrencies if they are found to serve illicit objectives. 

This transformative ordinance paves the way for recovery of crypto assets used in criminal activities, rejecting the need for conviction. This targets individuals, who, hiding behind pseudonyms or operating remotely, evade justice.


Setting Timelines: The Government’s Economic Crime Plan 

The UK government’s economic crime plan (2023-2026) is synchronized with the key objectives of this bill. The Financial Action Task Force’s Travel Rule is set to follow suit, signaling regulatory synergy. 


FCA’s Patrol of the Crypto Landscape 

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued 221 warnings since the introduction of new crypto promotion rules on October 8, 2023. The first 24 hours saw a staggering 146 alerts issued on compliance breaches. 

The vigilant authority has taken action against both suspicious high-yield return schemes and seemingly legitimate businesses. 


Prominent Cases and Market Impact 

Several companies have already fallen foul to these new rules. Notably, Rebuildingsociety, an FCA-regulated firm, had its advertising approvals restricted, impacting its partner, Binance, which had to halt its UK services temporarily. 

Through collaborative efforts, the FCA is engaging with social media platforms, search engines, and payment providers to block banned promotions.


Market Metrics: The UK Leads

A report by Chainalysis in October 2023 stated that the UK tops the chart in raw crypto transaction volume in Central, Northern, and Western Europe. Earlier in February, tax platform Recap designated London as the world's most crypto-ready city, ahead of Dubai and New York.

Top countries by cryptocurrency value received between July 2022 and June 2023.webp
Top countries by crypto value received between July 2022 and June 2023. Source: Chainalysis

Strict Rules for Enhancing Security

The FCA's protection-centric rules necessitate "prominent risk warnings" and prohibit incentives to invest in crypto. These regulations apply to all businesses, regardless of their geographical location. So, commonplace overseas promotions such as referral bonuses and memes, are now off-limits in the UK. 


A Delicate Balance: Innovation and Security 

UK map with digital circuitry and padlock for crypto security.webp

The UK epitomizes a mature approach towards cryptocurrency regulations. By crafting the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill and enforcing stringent rules, the UK aims to strike a balance between promoting crypto innovations and ensuring consumer safety.

The allowance for asset seizure without conviction, coupled with the FCA's swift warning issuance, denotes a strong commitment to compliance. This multi-pronged strategy not only safeguards consumers but also fortifies the UK's position as a crypto powerhouse.


FAQs

1. What is the purpose of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill?

The UK's Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill aims to broaden the scope of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. It targets cybercrimes, scams, and drug trafficking, while permitting the seizure and freezing of crypto assets linked to illicit activities. 

2. What is the impact of this bill on the cryptocurrency market in the UK?

This bill significantly alters the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in the UK. It helps authorities manage crypto-linked crimes, protects consumers, fosters compliance, and solidifies the UK's position as a key global player in the crypto ecosystem. 

3. How does the FCA’s new rules affect cryptocurrency promotions? 

The FCA's new rules require organizations to provide "prominent risk warnings" and prevent offering incentives to invest in cryptocurrencies. Typical promotions, like referral bonuses and memes now face restrictions in the UK.

4. How has the UK's regulatory approach influenced crypto-related businesses? 

The stringent regulatory framework in the UK has led to actions against both fraudulent schemes and legitimate businesses. Certain companies, like Rebuildingsociety and Binance, have already faced restrictions.  

5. How does the UK rank in global cryptocurrency usage? 

As per Chainalysis and Recap reports, the UK leads in raw crypto transaction volume in Europe and London is considered the world's most crypto-ready city.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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