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Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase UK, a standalone digital banking entity in the UK since 2021, delivered surprising news. They announced that their customers would no longer have the option to purchase crypto using Chase UK debit cards or via bank transfers.
While such decisions aren’t entirely unprecedented, the rationale provided by the bank, concerns explicitly about rising digital currency-related frauds, raised eyebrows, especially within the community.
Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world, didn’t mince his words when expressing his displeasure.
During an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday, the CEO criticized the decision, emphasizing that private entities should not be in the business of “sidelining” an entire industry.
Armstrong’s Perspective On The Matter
Armstrong’s primary contention is that deciding the fate of industries, particularly one as noteworthy as crypto, should rest with governments, not individual enterprises. Armstrong was quoted on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” saying:
I don’t think that’s OK. I don’t think that’s the rule of things in our society. I think the government should decide what is allowed and what’s not.
Armstrong’s call for clearer, government-led guidance and decision-making underlines a broader challenge the digital currency industry faces – the need for robust, consistent, and supportive regulation.
According to CNBC, data from Action Fraud, the UK fraud reporting agency, indicated a spike of more than 40% in UK consumer losses to digital currency fraud over the past year, with figures crossing £300 million for the first time.
However, CNBC further noted that digital currency advocates argue that despite certain setbacks, like the FTX collapse, the industry has “come a long way” and is continuously refining its mechanisms to ensure more secure user transactions.
Regulation Of Crypto
The UK has been advancing efforts to oversee retail transactions in crypto assets. They have introduced measures like the Financial Services and Markets Bill, but “it is not a comprehensive law addressing crypto through tailored laws,” according to CNBC, which makes a detailed legal framework for digital currency remain absent.
Other global jurisdictions, from Dubai to Singapore, are evolving into crypto havens, wooing companies with their crypto-friendly policies. Meanwhile, the United States remains stringent, with increased regulatory actions against crypto businesses.
Armstrong, mindful of the UK’s ambitions to become a significant player in the Web3 and digital currency world, hopes Chase UK’s recent decision is merely a temporary setback and not indicative of a larger trend. Armstrong concluded:
The government in the UK through [U.K. PM] Rishi Sunak and Andrew Griffith the city minister in London have it made clear they want to make the U.K. a Web3 and crypto hub. They are trying to attract businesses there. I was disappointed to see Chase UK’s stance on that. I hope that was a misunderstanding that will be clarified in the coming weeks.
Featured image from Unsplash, Chart from TradingView
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