Dozens of crypto giants are understood to be sizing up a move to London, banking on the UK government creating a more welcome environment in the wake of a massive clampdown in the US.
Earlier this week, Andreessen Horowitz declared its faith in a favourable future climate by revealing it had begun the process of setting up a London base.
The venture capital behemoth – a major investor in cryptocurrency – said it will be opening offices in the City by Christmas. About 20 per cent of Andreessen Horowitz’s $35bn funds are understood to be in cryptocurrency, under the company’s a16z arm.
Although said to be in the pipeline for several months, the seemingly-pertinent timing of the announcement comes days after US financial authorities began turning up the heat on cryptocurrency firms.
The Securities and Exchange Commission last week escalated its crackdown on digital assets by suing both Binance and Coinbase – the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.
The list of charges includes operating a crypto asset trading platform as an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency.
Andreesson Horowitz may be the first major name to announce it is making a move to London, but many industry insiders say it certainly won’t be the last.
Crypto AM understands more than 20 large businesses associated with cryptocurrency are prepared to move to London, and are waiting to see what the UK government proposes for the industry in the coming months.
Several major DeFi organisations have already made noises about the prospect of a UK move. Most noteworthy was Binance itself. Speaking at a conference last month, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, Patrick Hillman, dropped a hint that Binance bosses were keen to establish a presence in London.
He added that the SEC were making it “very difficult to do business” in the US.
Previous attempts by Binance to gain UK regulatory authority have been rebuffed by the Financial Conduct Authority in recent years, but the messages from Number 10 appear to be more favourable under Rishi Sunak’s premiership.
Coinbase insiders have also confirmed the California-based exchange has been a long-term admirer of the UK and that senior figures are keeping a close watch on the continually thawing attitude towards crypto and blockchain from the government.
The Prime Minister is a known champion of FinTech, and even took to Twitter this week to hail Andreesson Horowitz’s announcement, gushing how he was thrilled a world-leading investor was moving to London.
Many within London’s crypto industry are now hoping the move will accelerate Rishi Sunak’s plans to “make the UK a global crypto asset technology hub” which he set out as Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2022.
“We want to see the businesses of tomorrow – and the jobs they create – here in the UK, and by regulating effectively we can give them the confidence they need to think and invest long-term,” he said at the time.