Philip Hammond, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, has recently suggested that the UK government should take cryptocurrencies seriously if it intends to reduce the impact of post-Brexit on its financial ecosystem.
In an interview with CityAM, Hammond noted that other European competitors could potentially overtake London as the world's financial services hub, unless the UK government steps up to focus more on crypto.
He said "I personally think the momentum is now unstoppable… most institutions know that whether we like it or don’t like it, it is going to happen. It’s not something anybody running a major business in financial services can hide from… we need to move quickly and effectively to secure London’s position."
Hammond further pointed out that several other European nations have begun embracing cryptocurrencies, as they realize the revolutionary nature of these digital assets and are leveraging them to overtake the UK.
"If we don’t watch carefully we will find some surprising people are ahead of us."
Crypto Regulations Needed in the UK— Fast!
Hammond noted that UK regulators have been so laser-focused on Brexit that they have ignored the cryptocurrency sector in the nation.
He regretted that UK regulators have still not drafted a clear regulation on how the industry should operate while the EU has already set out proposals targeted at bringing regulatory clarity for crypto businesses.
"If we’re being very honest about it, we have already allowed others to get ahead of us. Regulators have been heavily distracted," he said.
However, Hammond is convinced that it is still not too late. But, regulators would have to take decisive action and move swiftly.
"They can’t replicate a financial services centre on the scale of London and therefore we still have the ball in our court. But we do need to move pretty quickly to show that this technology is recognised and accepted by legislators and regulators in the UK," he concluded.
Not the First Time
Interestingly, this is not the first time a suggestion similar to Hammond's has been proposed.
Earlier in February, David McMillan, Professor in Finance at the University of Stirling, asserted that London could remain the world's financial hub in a post-Brexit world if regulators create a favourable environment for cryptocurrencies.