On Thursday, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill was introduced in the parliament of the United Kingdom for extending the powers of the police over cryptocurrencies.
The purpose of doing so is to counteract money laundering, and cybercrime as well as ‘foreign kleptocrats’. Even though it will not target crypto specifically, the bill would be helpful for law enforcement agencies.
This is because it will enable them, such as the National Crime Agency, to freeze, seize as well as recover their crypto assets a lot more quickly and easily.
It will accomplish this goal through modernizing and strengthening the ‘Proceeds of Crime Act’, which is an act that was passed in the UK for countering money laundering in 2002.
Graeme Biggar, the National Crime Agency’s Director General, said that both domestic, as well as international criminals, have abused UK company structures for laundering their proceeds of corruption and crime.
He added that they were now using cryptocurrencies for this purpose and said that the reforms that had been long awaited would assist them in cracking down on these activities.
Two separate raids had been conducted by the Economic Crime Command unit of the Metropolitan Police in Britain last summer.
They had managed to seize cryptocurrency worth millions of dollars in these raids. A string of money laundering cases was investigated by the Met in June and they seized $158 million.
In the same investigations, they seized an additional $250 million after three weeks.
The British approach to crypto
When it comes to crypto, the UK has generally been keen to embrace it and regards it as a revolutionary technology.
The former government had been quite warm towards it, going as far as claiming that they wanted Britain to become a global crypto hub.
Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, had said that they wanted crypto companies to be able to innovate, invest and expand in the UK to make it a global crypto hub.
The primary proposal that Sunak had put forward for crypto regulation had included recognizing stablecoins as a method of payment.
Furthermore, the British government was also working on an NFT with the Royal Mint, which manufactures British coins. It was due to an issue in the summer, but there have been no updates.
Protecting UK consumers
Britain has been taking steps to offer protection to consumers from cryptocurrencies. One such step was to issue plans for dealing with crypto commercials back in January.
The government had said that it would ensure that all crypto advertisements were in accordance with the financial promotions legislation that would ensure consumer protection and also encourage innovation.
This means that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would first need to approve crypto ads, or the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), or any company licensed by the two.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had also issued a ‘red alert’ to about 50 crypto firms in March to bring their advertisements in accordance with a new set of guidelines that had been issued.