Tuesday 2 July 2019 5:53 pm

UK regulator warns tech companies over cryptocurrency projects

The UK finance regulator has warned Facebook to reject the mantra “move fast and break things” in relation to its libra cryptocurrency project, saying tech giants must “get it right the first time round”.

Christopher Woolard, the executive director of strategy and competition at the Financial Conduct Authority, said regulators are facing issues that “could have a fundamental effect on the financial services system”.

Read more: Facebook’s cryptocurrency could run into tax trouble, say lawyers

Woolard’s comments come after Facebook launched its libra project last month. Regulators around the world have since ramped up calls for increased scrutiny on new digital currencies and financial disruption.

The FCA has already entered discussions with the tech firm on its digital currency scheme. 

Meanwhile, G20 regulatory group the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said Facebook’s attempt to enter the market would prompt watchdogs to take a closer look at fintech and its potential risks. 

During a speech in Cambridge today Woolard said: “In financial services it is vital that innovators get it right the first time round.

Read more: Bitcoin crashes from Libra high after Coinbase outage

“When it comes to other people’s money, or safeguarding against terrorist financing, corner cutting is simply not an option.

“For those who think the model is to try it in beta for a few million people and see what happens, there may be activities here that are illegal without authorisation in many countries, not just the UK.”