Capital markets News

Former UK Chancellor to chair digital asset custody firm Copper

Today Copper, the digital asset custody infrastructure partner of State Street, announced that Lord Philip Hammond is its new Chairman. Lord Hammond was previously the Chancellor of the Exchequer for three years until mid-2019, as well as Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary. He has been a Senior Adviser to Copper since October 2021.

“Recent security and regulatory challenges affecting the digital asset sector have only served to emphasise the need for safe, well-regulated trading infrastructure,” said Lord Hammond. “I remain firmly of the view that the post-Brexit UK Financial Services sector needs to embrace Distributed Ledger Technology as a key part of its strategy to remain a major global financial centre. I look forward to continuing to make the case for this potential to be realised as Chairman of Copper.”

Talking to the Financial Times, Hammond expressed concerns that the UK is falling behind Switzerland and the EU when it comes to digital assets and is keen to see the UK move faster in adopting a regulatory framework. The UK is progressing on stablecoins and tokenized securities but plans to spend more time formulating cryptocurrency regulations.

Copper noted that since Lord Hammond started working with Copper, its headcount has grown from 50 to 300 people and its revenues have doubled.

We reported last year that the company had raised $196 million Series C in its funding round and is about to announce another fundraise. Despite being headquartered in the UK, from a regulatory perspective, it chose Switzerland as its jurisdiction, where it is a member of a self regulatory body for AML compliance. That was after it withdrew its UK application with the FCA

Custody competition is hotting up in the institutional sector, with BNY Mellon and SIX Digital Exchange launching custody offerings last year. State Street is planning to launch this year. Apart from crypto, many institutions are eyeing digital securities, particularly in Europe, with the launch of the DLT Pilot Regime in March.