Former UK Financial Watchdog Chief Reveals Political Pressure to Embrace Crypto Firms

Picture Source: BeInCrypto

Charles Randell, the former head of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has made startling revelations about political pressure to welcome cryptocurrency firms during his tenure. Randell, who stepped down in the spring, disclosed that he faced significant pressure to facilitate the entry of crypto companies into the UK market, driven by concerns that the country was missing out on the innovative potential of the crypto industry.

Political Pressure Amidst Crypto Boom:

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Prudential Regulation Authority of the Bank of England, Randell highlighted the challenges of regulating the crypto industry while safeguarding against undue influence from both the industry itself and political forces. During his time as FCA head, the prevailing rhetoric emphasized the need for the UK to embrace crypto as an innovative activity that was gaining traction globally.

Denial of Licenses and Ongoing US Investigations:

Randell’s remarks come in the wake of several crypto firms being denied licenses to operate in the UK. Notably, both Binance and FTX, two major players in the crypto industry, were denied licenses by the FCA. These firms are now facing investigations by the US Department of Justice, although Randell did not explicitly mention them.

Randell’s Caution and Call for Independent Regulation:

Throughout his tenure at the FCA, Randell cautioned against rushing to turn the UK into a crypto hub. He advocated for an “independent” regulatory approach with “strong safeguards” to protect investors. His stance was in contrast to the government’s roadmap, initially promoted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in April 2022, to make the UK a “global hub” for crypto startups.

Crypto Regulation Progress and Shifting Focus to AI:

While the FCA initially rejected most crypto firms’ license applications, there have been significant developments in crypto regulation. A bill designating crypto trading as a regulated activity received royal assent, granting rulemaking powers to the UK Treasury, the FCA, the Bank of England, and the Payments Systems Regulator. However, finalizing the rules may take another year.

Interestingly, political attention seems to be shifting from crypto to artificial intelligence (AI). Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to host a meeting in November with leading academics and executives from AI giants like Google, DeepMind, and OpenAI to discuss the future of AI in the UK. This shift underscores the dynamic nature of technology regulation and policy priorities.

Read More: Australian Securities Regulator Sues Crypto Exchange Bit Trade Amid Regulatory Crackdown


Charles Randell’s revelations about political pressure to embrace crypto firms provide valuable insights into the complex interplay between regulatory bodies, government agendas, and emerging technologies. While crypto regulation is progressing in the UK, the shifting political focus toward AI signals the evolving nature of technology governance in the country. The challenges posed by regulating innovative industries like crypto require a delicate balance between fostering innovation and ensuring consumer protection and financial stability.