The UK Can Now Legally Seize, Freeze, and Recover Your Crypto Coins

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The UK has just introduced a bill which has enraged the crypto community in the country. Now, the law can seize, freeze, or recover cryptocurrencies from your wallets easier than ever. It operates under the shroud of anti-money laundering, cybercrime, and drug policies, but we all know how those have worked in the past.

Originally promised in May, the joint bill was introduced by the Treasury, Home Office, Serious Fraud Office, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and the Department for Business. According to representatives of the government, international and domestic criminals have been using cryptocurrencies to launder their proceeds of crime and corruption. The UK is planning to put a stop at that with ‘long-awaited’ reforms that should crack down on crypto crimes.

Was the Bill Necessary?

The UK was not powerless by any means even without the bill. Last July, the London Met Police seized over 180 million British pounds worth of crypto that was linked to international money laundering. It followed another big seize of assets a month before.

With the new bill, this process will go even smoother. Authorities can now seize and freeze assets linked to money laundering, drugs, or terrorism swiftly, and there’s nothing you can do to prove it. When the bill works as intended, we’re all for it. But we doubt that innocent people won’t be in harm’s way.

The bill builds up on the earlier Economic Crime Act. That one was designed to help regulators place sanctions on Russia and freeze crypto assets in the country. Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, Russians have been using crypto to avoid the sanctions imposed by Europe. The Treasury just updated the guidance for crypto wallet providers and exchanges to report any breaches of the sanctions. This was followed by most EU countries and the USA as well.

Crypto Regulation Undergoing Changes in the UK

New PM Liz Truss didn’t take long to get to work when it comes to cryptocurrencies in the UK. The new bill comes straight from her office, which lost key crypto policy officials before she took office. Those include former Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen and former Exchequer Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Sunak saw a bright future for cryptocurrencies in the UK. He thought that the UK should be a global crypto hub, and outlined measures that will ensure firms and companies can invest and innovate in the crypto space in the UK. Even the Treasury was asking for public feedback on the crypto laws last year, which was a positive change from before. Sunak was working on an updated crypto policy before the PM shake up, and possibly saw the winds of change which led to his resignation.

The new law will make it much easier and quicker for law enforcement agencies to seize crypto. Most of the operations will be handled by the National Crime Agency, which is said to be delighted about the prospect. It remains to be seen if those powers will be abused or if they’ll work on money laundering as we all hope for.

September 28, 2022: • No Comments

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