Philip Hammond, the former UK chancellor, has joined cryptocurrency startup Copper, taking on the job as an adviser to the firm.
The company, which launched in 2018, provides digital currency custody and trading services to institutional investors. It handles $50bn (£36bn) in transactions each month on behalf of around 400 clients, including traders, wealth companies, private banks and offices.
Hammond, who championed Britain’s fintech sector during his time as finance minister, is one of the most high-profile political figures to jump on board the rapidly-growing digital assets sector.
“Copper is a true pioneer of digital asset investment technology, innovating the highest standards of security and trading for financial institutions,” Hammond told the Financial Times.
“The really exciting opportunity lies in the application of this technology to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered.”
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Hammond, who served as chancellor from 2016 until Theresa May stepped down as prime minister in 2019, added that the business could help “secure the UK’s global leadership in this field for decades ahead”.
The appointment takes place with immediate effect, however, financial terms of his involvement were not disclosed. His position at Copper sits alongside another advisory engagement for startup fintech bank OakNorth.
Copper received investment from fund manager Alan Howard in June, who contributed $12.5m to its $75m funding round. It is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the regulator’s temporary regime.
Dmitry Tokarev, chief executive of Copper, said the firm was keen to grow “within a regulatory framework which will allow us to thrive globally from our London headquarters”.
Cryptocurrencies rose on Monday as bitcoin (BTC-USD) continued to hold above a key level of $50,000.
Analysts are predicting a record rally to end 2021. "I’m still confident that if the current momentum in prices continues, we could see the bitcoin price hit new all-time highs of $100,000 this year,” said Nigel Green, CEO of DeVere Group.
This comes amid recent reassuring statements from the US that they will not come down hard on cryptos – following a regulatory crackdown in China.