The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in its annual business plan published today, sets out its areas of focus for the year ahead. It is, as ever, essential reading for all those in the regulated sector.
For the fourth year the FCA has published research on the changing relationship between consumers and cryptoassets. In spite of the pandemic, the strong upward trend in public engagement and media coverage has continued, with the FCA estimating 2.3 million adults now hold cryptoassets.
A Director at the National Crime Agency recently voiced concern about crypto assets being used to fund property purchases in the UK. The NCA’s Nigel Leary was quoted by The Times as saying: “Anything purchased with crypto assets I’d be slightly sceptical about. I’d like to see why they’re being done in that way and what the requirement is for that anonymity, and why it needed to be done in a crypto transaction.”
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was an incredible year for crypto assets. Largely driven by the increased demand from institutional investors, Bitcoin shattered its previous price records. However, its pseudonymous nature and the ease with which it allows users to instantly send funds anywhere in the world makes crypto assets appealing to criminals.
Hot on the heels of its consultation on bringing cryptoasset inside the scope of the financial promotions regime at the tail end of last year, the FCA has launched a further consultation on the UK’s regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins.