- British banks are scared of enforcing a total cryptocurrency ban after years of inaction, according to The Times’ money editor
- James Coney says that banks missed the chance to clamp down on crypto
- Crypto regulation has been slow to arrive, with banks forced to make their own calls over customer usage
British banks have missed the chance to ban cryptocurrencies and are now too scared of losing business to do so, according to James Coney, Money Editor at The Sunday Times. Coney cited the views of Sir Howard Davies, former deputy governor of the Bank of England and current chairman of Natwest, who said recently that the UK should follow China’s lead and make cryptocurrency transactions illegal, adding financial regulators “want all the benefit and none of the accountability.”
Natwest Chairman Wants Crypto Banned
Coney offered his thoughts in a piece in The Times on Saturday where he focused on NatWest and a recent money laundering case that could see it hit with a £200 million ($275 million) fine after it pled guilty to several failings in the matter.
The comments from its chairman about the cryptocurrency space were particularly ill-timed then, with Sir Howard demanding that the UK should “just ban the damned stuff” as China has done, which would take the burden off the banks to make decisions about its customers’ ability to interact with crypto exchanges.
This thought process mirrors what we have seen in other countries too, notably America, where every man and his dog is calling for tighter regulation of the crypto sector but makes sure to distance themselves from actually having to do it. Coney says this is down to the crypto space being so big that banks are worried about the backlash of simply banning any and all crypto activity, a move that would solve little and would merely move crypto users elsewhere.
Early Inaction Leads to Reticence From Banks
Coney sums up the net result of banks’ inaction in crypto’s early days by saying that “They (UK banks) had the chance to clamp down on it years ago, but seemed blind to the risks it would pose [to] their business.” This of course is great news for cryptocurrency users, because while banks and regulators point at each other and demand that the other take on the burden of reeling in the crypto space, the space itself is only getting bigger and bigger.
The total value of cryptocurrencies is already $2.6 trillion, and it won’t be long before its value and its scale becomes so big that the task of regulating it isn’t just unappealing but almost impossible.