Former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom, Lord Philip Hammond, has joined cryptocurrency custodial group Copper as a senior advisor with the ambition of “promoting the UK as a global leader in digital asset technology.”
The London start-up firm, which provides custodial and infrastructure services in the digital asset sector, reportedly facilitates over $50 billion in transaction value per month for in excess of 400 institutional clients.
During his administration as chancellor between 2016 and 2019, Hammond was commended for expanding the nation's financial technology sector as well as fostering a capitalistic environment for start-up businesses.
Speaking on his new role in crypto, Hammond expressed his vision for an interoperable future of blockchain in Britain:
“If we can bring together the best of Britain — entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators — to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UK’s global leadership in this field for decades ahead.”
After a 22-year tenure as a Conservative Member of Parliament, or MP, Hammond retired from the political landscape in November 2019 following a public mutiny over his and Boris Johnson’s party's handling of Brexit negotiations.
After voting against his party in a bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit, Hammond was stripped of his whip — a title that designates members of the party responsible for enforcing legislative votes — and therefore, stood down and did not run for re-election in his constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge.
Since this fallout, Hammond has taken up another advisory role to the Finance Minister of Saudi Arabia, with whom he has had positive relations during his career.
In June of this year, Copper benefited from a $75 million funding raise, which included a $12.5 million contribution from British billionaire hedge fund manager Alan Howard.
Chief executive of Copper, Dmitry Tokarev, commented on the company’s desire to expand their operations from their headquarters in London with the addition of their newly appointed esteemed political figure:
"With Lord Hammond’s expertise adding to the strength of our team, we look forward to growing Copper and further enhancing the UK’s digital asset technology offering.”
This isn’t the first time a British politician has joined forces with a cryptocurrency entity in an advisory role. Cointelegraph reported in October 2018 that Andrew Hammond (no relation to Philip), a member of the Treasury Select Committee, joined crypto exchange IronX to support regulatory developments.
In a similar light, the former U.K. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care during the pandemic, Matt Hancock, endorsed blockchain technology during a London Blockchain Conference in April 2018, expressing that it will have a “monumental impact” on the lives of ordinary people.