UK Bill Advances, Allowing Seizure of Cryptocurrencies Linked to Financial Crimes

In a significant development, the UK Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill has passed its third reading in the House of Lords, marking a crucial step toward becoming law. The legislation, if officially approved, would empower authorities to seize cryptocurrencies associated with various forms of financial misconduct.

The bill, which was introduced in 2022 with the primary aim of combating financial crimes and safeguarding the interests of local residents, has undergone some modifications to ensure its effectiveness, as stated in a recent tweet by the House of Lords. While the legislation is being hailed as a necessary measure to tackle criminal activities, concerns have been raised about the potential difficulties in identifying wrongdoers due to the pseudonymous and cross-border nature of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and altcoins.

To address the growing concerns surrounding cryptocurrencies, the National Assessment Center disclosed that illicit crypto transactions in the UK amounted to approximately $1.5 billion in 2021, constituting a mere 1% of the total transaction value. However, it is believed that these figures may significantly underestimate the true extent of illicit activities involving digital currencies.

In addition to enabling the seizure of crypto assets associated with criminal activities, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill also seeks to expand the jurisdiction of British authorities, granting them enhanced powers to confiscate digital currencies involved in terrorism financing.

Furthermore, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom has issued a reminder that all domestic firms promoting cryptocurrencies to British consumers must adhere to the designated promotion regime. This move aims to ensure that cryptocurrency marketing within the country is conducted in compliance with established regulations.

With the House of Lords’ approval secured, the bill will now proceed to the stage of “Consideration of Amendments,” during which both chambers of the Parliament, namely the House of Commons and the House of Lords, will engage in discussions and work towards reaching a mutual agreement on potential changes.

The final step required for the legislation to become official is the granting of “Royal Assent” by King Charles III. It is worth noting that the last British monarch to reject a law passed by both chambers was Queen Anne in 1708 when she withheld “Royal Assent” for the Scottish Militia Bill, acting upon the advice of her minister who believed it would not be in line with the interests of the crown.

UK’s FCA Warns Crypto Firms to Comply with Financial Promotion Regime

In a move aimed at tightening regulations surrounding the cryptocurrency industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Britain’s top financial watchdog, has issued a stern warning to all firms marketing crypto assets to UK consumers. The FCA is urging these entities to comply with the financial promotion regime before the deadline of October 8, 2023, in order to avoid severe penalties.

The FCA’s warning signifies its intention to bring most digital asset firms offering services to British retail customers under its regulatory purview. This move comes amidst growing concerns over the potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies, including money laundering and consumer protection issues.

Starting from the aforementioned deadline, all crypto entities must ensure that their promotional activities are carried out through authorized individuals and that their products adhere to the FCA’s stringent anti-money laundering requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in serious consequences for the offending parties.

According to the FCA, firms that fail to register and continue marketing crypto assets without proper authorization may face penalties, including imprisonment for a period of up to two years, an unlimited fine, or both. These stringent measures aim to deter unauthorized and potentially fraudulent activities within the crypto industry, protecting the interests of UK consumers and the integrity of the financial markets.