Economist and head of the NatWest Group, Sir Howard Davies, said he is “very hostile” towards cryptocurrencies. So much so that he supports China’s recent crackdown, saying the UK should follow suit.
Last month, Beijing reiterated its calls for cryptocurrency to be used for illegal financial activities. In a coordinated multi-agency action, they seek to shut down all crypto activities within their jurisdiction.
However, the banks are not far from engaging in the same illegal financial activities. A look at NatWest’s recent history shows that it is far from very clean.
Here comes the encoder FUD
Davis did not back down from his thoughts on digital assets in the discussion with Andrew Hilton, director of the Center for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI),
When asked about the growing number of Brits now owning crypto, Davies expressed his disagreement by saying “this is very concerning”.
Moreover, although he said he does not agree with Beijing on everything, he supports their renewed crackdown on cryptocurrency and mining activities. He added that the UK should stop “bush-banging” and enact similar rules.
“Let’s just ban the damn things. Why are you beating around the bush here.”
On his reasons for considering this, Davis said cryptocurrencies are a source of fraud and financial crime. He also said that high volatility makes it useless as a safe haven commodity.
Davies also saw fit to bring environmental concerns, describing the energy use of PoW networks as an environmental disaster.
He concluded by saying that investing in cryptocurrency is a gamble and those who invest should “give up hope.”
“It’s as gambling as I can be, with a kind of libertarian shell over it. You should put a big sign on the door that says, Abandon hope to everyone who enters it.”
NatWest at risk for money laundering
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched criminal proceedings against NatWest in March.
A statement from the FSA said the bank was under investigation for offenses under the 2007 Money Laundering Regulations. They allege that NatWest failed to comply with the regulations over a nearly five-year period from November 11, 2011 to October 19, 2016.
“These regulations require the Company to identify, conduct and demonstrate risk-sensitive due diligence and to continuously monitor its relationships with its clients for the purposes of preventing money laundering.”
The FCA claims that a total of 365 million pounds ($494,000 at today’s rate) was paid into customer accounts without proper checks on the source of the funds.
NatWest responded by saying that it takes the prevention of money laundering seriously and is cooperating with the regulator.
Despite this, Davis advocates cryptocurrency for criminality as a scent of hypocrisy.
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