The UK government has recently passed a new bill that allows law enforcement agencies to confiscate cryptocurrencies linked to criminal activities.
According to the government's official website, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill became a law after receiving the King's approval on Thursday.
The bill, which was first introduced in September 2022 and has gone through numerous amendments, seeks to give broader powers to local authorities to crack down on the use of crypto assets for crimes like scams, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and terrorist financing.
One of the capabilities the newly passed bill affords law enforcement agencies is the power to seize and freeze cryptocurrencies suspected to be linked to criminal activities without requiring a conviction. Several experts noted that this will help local authorities to act quickly, especially in time-sensitive cases.
The UK government expects that the newly passed bill will increase the seizure of crypto linked to illicit activities, especially as criminals increasingly leverage digital assets to carry out their activities.
"The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill will strengthen the UK’s reputation as a place where legitimate businesses can thrive while driving dirty money out of the UK. Through the reforms, anyone who registers a company in the UK will need to verify their identity, tackling the use of companies as a front for crime or foreign kleptocrats," the government said last year.
UK Moves to Regulate Crypto
The latest legislation aligns with the UK government’s recent commitment to regulate the crypto industry in its jurisdiction, with a focus on tackling the illegal use of digital assets as part of its economic crime plan from 2023 to 2026.
In addition to enacting laws regarding the seizure of ill-gotten crypto, the UK government is also introducing regulations that seek to protect consumers.
The country's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently unveiled its new guidelines that mandate crypto companies to be approved by the regulator before serving crypto ads to UK customers. Crypto firms are also required to provide clear risk warnings in their promotions.
Earlier this week, however, the FCA noted that several crypto businesses have not complied with its promotional requirements. The regulator warned that violators would be charged unlimited fines and even jail time.
Several crypto exchanges offering their services to UK customers have had to make significant adjustments to comply with the FCA's requirements. In September, ByBit suspended its UK operation before the new FCA rules took effect.
Earlier this month, leading crypto exchange, Binance stopped accepting UK customers when the FCA banned its UK partner, Rebuildingsociety.com Ltd (REBS).