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Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz will open its first international office in London. The firm cites the UK’s welcoming crypto climate.
The crypto investment arm of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, a16z, announced it would be opening its first overseas office in London. The firm celebrated the UK’s welcoming embrace of the crypto industry as the motivating factor behind its decision.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the UK has established a warm climate for crypto companies as the industry battles regulatory confusion from the US.
Big news to share: @a16z is expanding to the UK ð¬ð§— cdixon.eth (@cdixon) June 11, 2023
We plan to open our first international office in London later this year, and will host the next Crypto Startup School there in 2024.
Why the UK? ðhttps://t.co/PQ7GuNEn77
Bloomberg reports the new office will open later this year and will be led by Sriram Krishnan, one of the firm’s general partners.
a16z said in a statement:
While there is still work to be done, we believe that the UK is on the right path to becoming a leader in crypto regulation. The UK also has deep pools of talent, world-leading academic institutions, and a strong entrepreneurial culture.
It is home to more “unicorns” than Germany, France, and Sweden combined; to some of the world’s largest financial markets and pools of capital; and to highly-sophisticated, world-class regulators. All of these make the UK strongly positioned to lead in web3.
Prime Minister Sunak welcomed the firm’s decision and underscored the UK’s commitment to establishing the country as the “world’s Web3 centre.”
Great news that @a16z – one of the world’s leading tech investment firms, is opening a new base here in London.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) June 12, 2023
Another huge vote of confidence in the UK as a place to build and grow tech businesses of the future. https://t.co/Ey1ykALkSU pic.twitter.com/caP6nNXfow
The Prime Minister said:
“As we cement the UK’s place as a science and tech superpower, we must embrace new innovations like Web3, powered by blockchain technology, which will enable start-ups to flourish here and grow the economy.”
Crypto Firms Are Being Driven Offshore
The US SEC recently launched severe regulatory action against two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges. On June 5, the agency filed suit against Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, for alleged securities violations. The following day, the agency filed a similar case against Coinbase. It charged the exchange with “the unregistered offer and sale of securities in connection with its staking-as-a-service program.”
The US’s aggressive approach led the market to spiral, with major altcoins seeing double-digit losses.
UK’s Regulatory Approach
Recognising the need for regulatory guidance, crypto firms such as Coinbase have long asked the US to provide clarity regarding crypto assets. The US has, however, been reluctant to comply, which only creates further tension in the industry.
Crypto firms have, therefore, been testing the waters in other countries where guidance has been offered.
When Prime Minister Sunak was still Chancellor of the Exchequer, he made it clear that he would guide the UK into becoming a safe space for digital assets where innovation and industry development are encouraged. While the UK has been lagging in regulatory guidance compared to the European Union, it has recently published several planned regulations.
The UK Treasury Committee released a report in May advising the government to regulate retail crypto trading not as financial assets but as gambling instruments. The Committee said that unbacked mainstream crypto assets and their inherent volatility pose a risk to investors and threaten economic stability.
Last week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released a set of crypto marketing rules that take effect on October 8.
Under its stricter marketing guidelines, the agency banned incentive bonuses, free NFTs and airdrops for promotional purposes and introduced a “cooling-off” period for first-time crypto buyers.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.