FCA opens search for head of new crypto division as crime soars
In a sign that UK regulators are turning the screws on crypto the Financial Conduct Authority is setting up a dedicated digital assets division.
The UK’s financial watchdog is in the process of hiring a crypto lead to head up a new department focussed on digital assets, according to a job post on LinkedIn.
Plans to beef up surveillance of digital assets come as the FCA faces a surge in crime – the watchdog has opened over 300 cases related to unregistered crypto asset businesses, many of which may be scams, over the past six months.
“We are looking for a Head of Department to build and lead a new crypto department that will lead and coordinate the FCA’s regulatory activity in this emerging market,” the job advert said.
“This successful candidate will be accountable for leading the FCA’s approach to regulatory interventions within the crypto firms in the UK, supervising innovative and complex business models of registered firms and dealing with unregistered cryptoasset businesses that may be involved in scams and frauds,” the job advert continued.
While the FCA has limited powers to register crypto firms for money laundering purposes it does not currently regulate digital assets themselves.
An explosion of interest in crypto during the pandemic has strengthened the case for ramping up regulatory oversight, with an estimated 2.3m Brits in possession of crypto. A recent freedom of information request revealed the scale of the challenge faced by financial regulators with 6,372 crypto scams reported to the FCA in 2021, up from 3,142 a year prior.
The new crypto division lead for the FCA will be responsible for “supporting innovation in the crypto sector”, “influencing future regulation” and helping to deliver the “UK government’s vision on cryptoassets, influence future regulation… as the popularity of crypto continues to increase.”
Read more: Crypto scams reported to UK watchdog double in a year to top 6,300