The UK’s former chancellor Philip Hammond has been appointed as the chair of the London-based digital asset unicorn Copper.
The new chair, Hammond said that the UK should be leading the crypto sector as a “post-Brexit” opportunity, pointing to the progress already made by European nations.
Copper said he has provided “strategic advice as the firm has grown significantly and expanded its operations and services globally”.
Since taking on his role, Copper has grown to 300 staff from 50 and doubled its revenue, the firm said in a statement.
The firm has also clinched top deals with leading financial institutions such as State Street Digital partnering with Copper, while the firm has also tied up with hedge funds and other firms in the defi ecosystem.
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“Lord Hammond has been at the forefront of promoting the UK as a global leader in digital asset technology and publicly making the case for the need to connect traditional finance with distributed ledger technology and reforming the UK’s regulatory framework governing digital assets,” Copper said.
Hammond – who served as chancellor between 2016 and 2019 – said the recent security and regulatory challenges affecting the digital asset sector have only served to emphasise the need for safe, well-regulated trading infrastructure.
“Switzerland is further ahead. The EU is also moving faster. There has to be appetite to take some measured risk,” he told the FT.
Hammond called for the UK to introduce “better, more effective” crypto regulation to catch up.
The UK has yet to introduce its crypto regulatory framework but has held several inquiries and consultations on the subject.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has in the past voiced support for making the UK a global cryptoasset hub, a goal which is said to include the implementation of a Bank of England-backed stablecoin. Details of both the ‘digital pound’ and the wider regulation remain limited.
The appointment of Hammond to Mayfair-based Copper marks the latest in a series of Conservative figures taking on positions at cryptoasset companies. Tory peer Lord Vaizey and MP and brother of Boris Johnson, Jo Johnson have both held advisory positions at Binance, though the latter has since stepped down.
Founded in 2018, Copper acts as a bridge between traditional finance firms and the crypto industry. Its services include risk management for institutional investors putting money into digital assets.
Copper currently holds a $2bn valuation after a number of high-profile investments from backers including Barclays and Tiger Global Management.