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Is an Impending “No-Deal” Brexit Driving Crypto Adoption in London?

A recent survey from U.S. research company Atomik indicates that 37 percent of young Londoners under 35 are interested in cryptocurrency investments.

This dwarfs the UK national average which sits at only 13 percent, almost a third less than it’s financially-focused capital city. During the 2016 ‘Brexit’ vote that will see the country leave the European Union early next year, the majority of Londoners voted to remain in the EU.

It’s worth noting that in the most recent census it was also found that 37 percent of Londoners are foreigners. (Although admittedly the most recent statistics are from 2011 and have likely decreased significantly since the Brexit vote.)

Brexit has been pointed out as a likely driving factor for cryptocurrency adoption in the country, considering that there is still no progress on a trade deal and an uncertain financial future. Many foreigners living in London may be considering virtual currencies as a preferable option for sending money back home or simply as a safer store of value.

Impact on Business

With the EU ministers pushing for better regulation and a growing number of traditional financial institutions getting involved in crypto, UK businesses that trade with the EU could benefit from integrating virtual currencies into their financial systems. While the UK pound remains an undoubtedly strong player in the global financial arena, it could face strong competition from the Euro and US dollar if an amicable EU trade deal is not reached.

In an interview with Forbes magazine after the Brexit vote, Marieke Flament, MD of blockchain-based payments platform Circle, said:

“The two main issues of Brexit is the passportability of the e-money license throughout the EEA and access to talent. London is an amazing place to find people of all nationalities. [ ] This diversity is now at risk.”

Currently, British companies that have offices in the EU are able to ‘passport’ their financial licenses, something that may no longer be possible should a no-deal Brexit occur on March 30th next year. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is working to resolve this issue by prompting businesses to apply for a special license to allow the continuation of trade.

UK Crypto Adoption

As if more proof is needed, London even has it’s own virtual currency now – the Local Pound. Launched by Israeli blockchain firm Colu, the Local Pound is locked to the price of GBP and so is not affected by the volatility usually associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It has been launched in East London as a way to help fund small businesses and provide citizens with a fast and efficient way to make payments via smartphone.

Last month, cryptocurrency giant Coinbase expanded it’s operations in the UK, adding four additional GBP trading pairs to its platform.

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