UK Financial Regulator Calls for Caution on Cryptocurrency Investing

An official at the UK's Financial Conduct Authority has issued cautionary comments amid a wave of new investment in the cryptocurrency market.

AccessTimeIconJun 19, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:27 p.m. UTC
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An official at the UK's top financial regulator has issued new comments calling for consumer caution on bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing.

As reported by Financial News, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) director of strategy and competition Chris Woolard addressed the subject at a blockchain event held by the regulator last week. While affirming the regulator's enthusiasm for blockchain at the time, Woolard voiced concern about the recent meteoric growth observed in the cryptocurrency markets.

In particular, he argued more perhaps should be done to alert consumers that cryptocurrencies are not regulated financial instruments and, as such, they don't have the consumer protections associated with more mature assets.

According to the news source, Woolard said:

"I am not saying that we view digital currencies as an inherently bad thing … but we do have to exercise a degree of caution."

Woolard went on to pledge that the FCA would continue to ring the alarm over potential suspicious actors in the industry – a role it has long played. Among others, the FCA has previously issued warnings against a suspicious crypto trading website and a digital currency scheme called OneCoin that has drawn the ire of several global regulators.

Still, the FCA has proved to be among the more progressive regulators on the issue as well, granting US startup Circle Internet Financial, at the time a bitcoin brokerage, an e-money license in 2016.

As recently as last week, the agency further revealed it has increased its commitment to industry startups through a 'sandbox' initiative by helping to incubate nine new blockchain and distributed ledger startups.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership in Circle.

Chris Woolard image via Innovate Finance/YouTube


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