UK’s FCA faces heat over crypto regulations


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  • FCA criticized for slow crypto enforcement, risking market integrity.
  • Staff shortage in crypto expertise hampers regulatory effectiveness.
  • Global crypto market boom highlights the need for robust regulation.

In a recent report by the National Audit Office (NAO), the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has come under scrutiny for its sluggish approach to enforcing cryptocurrency laws and its staffing challenges in the crypto sector. The report highlights concerns about the FCA’s ability to effectively regulate the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market.

FCA Crypto enforcement delays raise concerns

The NAO report points out that the FCA, responsible for overseeing financial regulations in the UK, mandated compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations for digital asset firms in January 2020. 

However, it was not until February 2023 that the FCA initiated enforcement actions against illegal operators of cryptocurrency ATMs. This delay in enforcement has raised concerns about the FCA’s ability to address risks effectively within the crypto sector.

One of the key issues highlighted in the report is the shortage of staff with expertise in cryptocurrencies within the FCA. While the authority has been implementing changes in its data management practices to identify risks more efficiently, the report suggests that these efforts are expected to take years, with data risks not anticipated to be mitigated before 2025.

Staff turnover, particularly in specialist areas, has been a persistent challenge for the FCA in recent years. Although overall turnover rates have decreased, the report indicates that delivery risks remain high in some specialist areas.

To address this issue, the FCA has recruited and trained over 2,000 new staff members, including seven out of 11 senior officials who joined since September 2020. This recruitment drive aims to ensure that the FCA maintains the necessary specialist skills and expertise to regulate the cryptocurrency sector effectively.

International collaboration and crackdown on illicit activity

Recognizing the global nature of the cryptocurrency market, the FCA has been actively enhancing its international engagement efforts. It has established a new international steering committee to provide cross-organizational oversight and support in managing its influence on global developments. 

The report highlights that the FCA collaborates with other organizations to address common issues across various sectors, including the digital economy and financial services.

Despite its staffing challenges and enforcement delays, the FCA has reportedly been in charge of over 1,400 illegal digital asset activity cases between January 2020 and June 2023. Additionally, it received over 13,350 scam reports between 2020 and the first half of 2022 while supervising 50,000 firms across the UK.

The NAO’s report sheds light on the challenges faced by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in regulating the cryptocurrency sector. While efforts have been made to address staffing issues and enhance international collaboration, concerns remain about the FCA’s ability to enforce crypto laws in a timely manner. As the cryptocurrency market continues to expand, it is crucial for regulatory authorities to adapt and strengthen their capabilities to ensure the integrity of the financial system and protect investors from potential risks.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Lacton Muriuki

Lacton is an experienced journalist specializing in blockchain-based technologies, including NFTs and cryptocurrency. He dabbles in daily crypto news rich with well-researched stats. He adds aesthetic appeal, adding a human face to technology.

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