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Bitcoin Payments App Strike Launches in UK Despite Struggling ‘Crypto Hub’ Aspirations

Last Updated June 25, 2024 2:18 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated June 25, 2024 2:18 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Strike has launched in the UK, expanding its global presence following recent launches in Europe and Africa.
  • The UK is the sixth-largest economy globally and presents significant opportunities for Bitcoin adoption.
  • While the UK government is advancing crypto legislation, the push to regulate crypto and stablecoins has been paused until after the upcoming election.

Strike, a payments application that leverages the Bitcoin blockchain, has announced  the commencement of its operations in the UK, according to a company blog post on Tuesday.

This expansion enhances its global footprint following recent launches in Europe and Africa and shows that despite economic challenges and regulatory hurdles, the UK remains committed to its goal of becoming a global crypto hub.

Strike Expands UK Operations, Aims to Boost Global Bitcoin Adoption

The Strike app lets UK customers purchase, sell, and withdraw funds. The app allows users to send and receive both Bitcoin (BTC) and sterling.

The payments company has been aggressively expanding, operating in over 100 countries and territories. Strike initiated its European operations in April and ventured into Africa earlier in the year. Despite some crypto companies scaling back their activities in the UK, Strike is intensifying its efforts and is committed to promoting Bitcoin adoption on a global scale.

The company commented :

“With a population of 67 million, the UK is the second-largest economy in Europe and sixth-largest globally and presents significant opportunities for bitcoin adoption.”

The company will manage cross-border services for clients from its European base. The Financial Conduct Authority-registered firm Engelbert will oversee compliance with regulatory requirements concerning cryptocurrency promotions.

It seems that the UK didn’t gave up it’s plans to become a crypto hub , even though it’s economic woes hurts crypto.

Facing Economic Headwinds and Crypto Regulatory Challenges

Be it as it may, the Bank of England maintained interest rates at 5.25% in May, amid ongoing inflationary pressures and a gloomy economic outlook. The OECD recently lowered its growth forecasts  for the UK, predicting it will experience the second weakest growth in the G7, trailing only behind Germany. The expected economic slowdown and regulatory hurdles may temper enthusiasm for developing a cryptocurrency infrastructure, especially with the UK’s growth projection set at just 0.4% for 2024.

However, the government is proactively enhancing its ability to regulate crypto assets . In response to the increased use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities, the UK government has strengthened its legal framework to boost oversight and enforcement to combat their misuse.

The updated regulations grant the National Crime Agency (NCA) and local police forces the authority to seize, freeze, and even destroy cryptoassets linked to criminal activities. This adjustment comes in the wake of a noticeable rise in the use of digital currencies for money laundering.

In its recent stability report, the UK government classified crypto-asset companies as being highly vulnerable to financial crimes, placing them on par with traditional financial sectors in terms of risk.

UK Tightens Crypto Marketing Rules: Innovation and Consumer Protection in Balance

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has introduced updated regulations  on cryptocurrency marketing, effective from January 8. These amendments incorporate the “Consumer Duty Act” into crypto promotional activities, introducing significant changes like a mandatory 24-hour “cooling off” period for new investors and banning incentives such as referral bonuses. These measures are part of the UK’s strategy to balance innovation with consumer protection in the rapidly evolving crypto sector.

The regulatory overhaul has prompted strong reactions from major fintech entities. Revolut has paused its crypto business activities, and PayPal has temporarily suspended its crypto services in the UK. These moves underscore the challenges and complexities of navigating cryptocurrency regulation in the UK, as the country strives to position itself as a global crypto hub while enforcing stringent regulatory standards. This situation presents a mix of opportunities and challenges within the UK’s vibrant financial ecosystem.

While regulators are becoming more receptive to cryptocurrencies, the momentum to regulate crypto and stablecoins seems to have stalled following the announcement of the general election. It appears that the UK’s ambitions to become a “crypto hub” might be shelved until after the upcoming election on July 4, or possibly delayed until next year.

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