Is Barclays Bank Investing in a Digital Assett Custody Firm?

August 4, 2022

Barclays, one of the United Kingdom’s largest banking firms, is reportedly investing in a digital asset custody firm. Founded in London in 2018, the firm – Copper – provides infrastructure and services for cryptocurrency investors.

It has been reported that Barclays is one of Copper’s latest investors in its latest financing round as well as purchasing shares in the fintech company.

Sources have said that Barclays is expected to invest a modest amount – in the millions of dollars as part of the initial investment. This comes amidst the cryptocurrency industry’s bear market. Barclays’ investment in Copper also comes at a time when a significant number of digital assets are laying off staff or cutting back on their operations. Leading crypto platforms including Gemini, Crypto.com, Bitcode Prime, and Coinbase have had disruptions in their operations as the bear run continues in the market.

Copper, however, has made it known that it intends to roll out as planned, despite the dip in the market’s values. In order to work in a region with friendlier regulations, Copper plans to establish a hub in Switzerland away from the British financial regulators.

The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered companies that provide cryptocurrency services and products to register with the financial regulator. The Treasury has noted that cryptocurrencies offer a possible way for criminals due to their anonymous nature. However, the Treasury contends this to make a way for the crypto industry to explore digital innovation.

The local crypto industry in the United Kingdom

Cryptocurrency regulation in the United Kingdom has had a stormy time with contrast in how different authorities want to regulate the space. The country’s leading financial regulator is critical of the cryptocurrency industry and has warned investors to be careful before investing in digital assets. The Bank of England, especially Governor Andrew Bailey, has slammed the cryptocurrency industry on numerous occasions.

On the other hand, the chief financial minister has stated that the country intends to become a cryptocurrency hub. The economic secretary to the Treasury follows the financial minister’s thoughts with the intention to make the United Kingdom a crypto-friendly place for companies and firms to build and scale.

In June 2022, Chris Philp, the country’s Digital Minister, revealed that the Prime Minister’s administration also plans to make Britain a global cryptocurrency center. With this, he also noted that this plan needs to be executed in a way that consumers and investors are protected. Furthermore, Philp noted that the industry also needs to be regulated in a way that alleviates the use of digital assets in criminal activities.

Cryptocurrency regulation across the globe is still growing and authorities are finding a way to protect investors while retaining innovation in the field. The United Kingdom, aiming to become the global cryptocurrency hub, is still finding the balance between strict regulation and letting projects explore innovation.

As more cryptocurrency firms get more traction with private and public banks, we’re likely going to see the industry strike the balance in a sustainable way. And as the United Kingdom works to become a crypto hub, we can expect to see more adoption in the industry.


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