Former U.K. Chancellor Joins Crypto Trading Firm
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Former U.K. Chancellor Joins Crypto Trading Firm

8 months ago

Two years after leaving his high-profile role in charge of Britain's finances, Philip Hammond has a new job “promoting the U.K. as a global leader in digital asset technology.”

Former U.K. Chancellor Joins Crypto Trading Firm

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Philip Hammond has become a senior adviser to a British company that specializes in crypto custody and trading — two years after his departure as the U.K.'s chancellor.

The Conservative politician, who was a mainstay of two administrations but now sits in the House of Lords, is set to provide strategic advice to Copper, which launched in 2018. As well as being responsible for the nation's finances, Hammond previously served as foreign secretary and defense secretary.

Copper has said it oversees transactions worth about $50 billion per month for 400 clients such as hedge funds, family offices, and digital currency asset managers.

Calling his new firm a “a true pioneer of digital asset investment technology,” Hammond said:

“The really exciting opportunity lies in the application of this technology to revolutionize the way financial services are delivered. If we can bring together the best of Britain – entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators – to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UK’s global leadership in this field for decades ahead.”

Hammond’s focus will be on “promoting the U.K. as a global leader in digital asset technology.”

Following a $75 million funding round in June led by investor Alan Howard, as well as venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Target Global, Copper announced plans to expand globally. In August it launched a U.S. office on the East Coast and is planning a move into Asia. Copper CEO Dmitry Tokarev said:

“With Lord Hammond’s expertise adding to the strength of our team, we look forward to growing Copper and further enhancing the UK’s digital asset technology offering.” 

Tokarev added that the firm wants to expand its client roster “within a regulatory framework which will allow us to thrive globally from our London headquarters,” suggesting Hammond will have a lobbying role. 

However, Hammond has faced criticism before for using his government connections to help some of the other companies he is paid to advise — and some estimates suggest he now has more than a dozen of these roles.

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Top Officials Embracing Crypto

Hammond was open-minded about cryptocurrencies during his time as chancellor — and back in 2018, he said:

“I am interested in Bitcoin. The Bank of England, as you know, among the central banks, has been leading on looking at Bitcoin … What is really important is that in regulating cryptocurrencies, we don’t inadvertently constrain the potential of the technology that underlies it, the blockchain technology, which has a wider and more important application.”

He has become the latest senior finance official to jump into the cryptocurrency space after departing office.

In September, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised $2.5 billion for Liberty Strategic Capital, a private equity firm that will focus on fintech as well as technology and financial services. 

Another Trump administration official, former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, joined crypto custodian Fireblocks as an adviser in August, and is on the board of One River Asset Management, which has a Bitcoin ETF application before the SEC. 

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