The United Kingdom’s legislative body has passed a crucial bill that grants authorities the legal authority to seize and freeze cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, if they are found to be involved in illicit activities.
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, introduced in September 2022, is set to receive royal assent on October 26, 2023. This milestone marks the completion of all necessary parliamentary stages in both houses of parliament.
This legislation aims to expand the powers of authorities to combat the use of cryptocurrencies in various criminal activities, including cybercrimes, scams, and drug trafficking. One notable provision within the bill allows for the recovery of crypto assets used in crimes even without a criminal conviction, a crucial step to address the challenges posed by individuals who operate remotely to evade prosecution. Additionally, the legislation is designed to counter the use of digital assets for terrorist-related purposes.
The United Kingdom’s latest legal measure concerning cryptocurrencies aligns with the government’s overarching objective to regulate cryptocurrencies more rigorously. The aim is to curb the illicit use of digital assets as part of the government’s economic crime plan for the years 2023 to 2026. In March, U.K. lawmakers announced their intention to pass the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill by the fourth quarter of 2023, along with the adoption of the Financial Action Task Force’s Travel Rule.
As the U.K. government intensifies efforts to combat cryptocurrency-related crimes, the country has simultaneously become a prominent player in the cryptocurrency space. A report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis in October 2023 highlighted the U.K. as the leading cryptocurrency country in Central, Northern, and Western Europe in terms of raw transaction volume.
Earlier in February 2023, the crypto tax platform Recap had identified London as the world’s most crypto-ready city for businesses, surpassing global financial centers like Dubai and New York, further demonstrating the U.K.’s growing significance in the cryptocurrency landscape.