Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have displayed interest in taming the “Wild West” cryptocurrency market to protect citizens and encourage industry growth in the country.
A report released by the Treasury Committee Wednesday called for the government to address issues regarding poor security generated from price swings, hackers and anonymity, which may contribute to rising crime. As noted in the report, the British government maintains an ambiguous stance on the cryptocurrency industry, which opens the door to increased criminal activity, and places a burden on consumers.
The report states, “As the Government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected.” The report goes on to suggest that sustainable regulations may reduce the volatility of crypto-assets moving forward.
Nicky Morgan M.P., the Treasury Committee chair, added that the government’s ability to “bumble along, issuing feeble warnings to potential investors” is unsustainable. Lawmakers suggest “proportionate regulation” may position the country as a global center for the digital asset industry.
Digital currency exchange Coinbase contributed to the report alongside trade association CryptoUK. Coinbase U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz noted in an exchange with CNBC that the U.K. should introduce reforms quickly, or risk losing out. Feroz specified, “The U.K. is in a race with other financial hubs around the world who are also vying to become the world’s crypto capital, so it’s important that this regulation is implemented as quickly as possible.”
In terms of a future reform, Morgan suggests that at a minimum, regulators must begin addressing consumer protection and anti-money laundering. Regulations regarding cryptocurrencies are equally underdeveloped in other parts of the world, with the United States suggesting recently that digital assets should be subject to federal laws by categorizing them as securities.