Philip Hammond, the former chancellor of the United Kingdom, has joined the crypto startup Copper.
Lord Philip Hammond, the former British chancellor, has joined Copper, a UK firm that specializes in bitcoin custody and trading.
Copper began operations in 2018 and serves institutional investors ranging from digital currency asset managers to hedge funds and family offices. Each month, the company said it handled more than $50 billion in transactions on behalf of about 400 clients.
To compete after Brexit, Hammond said the UK needed to embrace financial innovation. He told the Financial Times that “over time, the UK’s access to European financial markets will gradually deteriorate.” “The only way we’re going to be able to keep securing access is if we have products and services that our EU neighbors absolutely need to keep their economy running.”
Between 2016 and 2019, Hammond was chancellor of the United Kingdom, and he admitted that “the UK has not moved as swiftly as Switzerland, Singapore, or even Germany” on crypto legislation. “Right now, the issue for us is to persuade UK decision-makers and authorities that there is a real opportunity here.”
Hammond’s former Tory colleague David Cameron was embroiled in an advising post at Greensill Capital, a UK fintech. When it was revealed that the former prime minister had fiercely pushed on behalf of the corporation before it collapsed, he was pulled into a scandal.
“Everyone has taken on board the Greensill experience and will read a cautionary tale from it,” Hammond added. I will undoubtedly work closely with Copper to assist them in developing their strategy, but there are limits to what I can do, particularly in relation to the UK government.”
He claimed to have done his homework on Copper. “It has a blue-chip client base, blue-chip investors, and a concept that is quickly emerging as the preferred paradigm for trading and protecting crypto-assets all over the world.”
Alan Howard, a fund manager, made a $12.5 million investment in the company’s $75 million capital round in June.
It is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority under a provisional system that lets UK crypto custody and trading firms continue functioning while the watchdog examines their practices to combat money laundering and terrorism funding.
Copper’s CEO, Dmitry Tokarev, stated that the company wanted to expand “within a legislative framework that will allow us to prosper globally from our London headquarters.”
This year, crypto companies have increased their recruiting of high-profile personalities from the finance and tech sectors. In August, former US Securities and Exchange Commission chair Jay Clayton joined crypto custodian Fireblocks in New York as an adviser.
After a split with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party over Brexit, Hammond stepped down from politics ahead of the general election in December 2019.
The UK lobbying watchdog announced earlier this year that it was looking into whether Hammond should have registered as a lobbyist when he contacted a key Treasury official to sell software developed by OakNorth, a bank he advises.
Hammond’s contention that his technique fit under an exemption to its guidelines was accepted by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists last month, and he was cleared of violating lobbying rules.
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