Regulation of fintech development: a critical analysis with a case study of crypto assets in the UK and EU

Electronic versions


  • Sherena Huang

    Research areas

  • LLM Res, School of law, Fintech, crypto assets, regulation, money laundering, financial crime


The financial market is more complicated than it has been for a long time. The anonymous peer-to-peer transaction networks of crypto assets are challenging the existing regulatory regimes and call out a decentralised financial system. Are the current regulatory perimeters of the Financial Conduct Authority sufficient and effective to guide the crypto markets? What actions are needed for a harmonised EU-wide regulatory crypto asset policy? What are the Laws and Acts applicable to crypto assets crimes? The three research questions address the potential issues in the current regulatory schemes: effectiveness, consistency and applicability.
Chapter 1 outlines the research questions, objectives, scope and outcomes as well as the research methods employed by this thesis. Chapter 2 reviews the background of crypto asset development and the technology underpins it, as well as the role of crypto assets in financial crimes. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the development of anti-money laundering regulations in the UK and EU and discusses the use of crypto assets in international money-laundering. Chapter 4 uncovers the pros and cons of the Distributed Ledger Technology to central banks and searches out the opinions of the central bank on issuing national cryptocurrencies. The three chapters establish the theoretical framework of this thesis and examine the issues that crypto asset may bring to the financial systems and the official responses, accordingly.
Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 employs comparative methods to evaluate the effectiveness, consistency and applicability of existing regulations on crypto assets in the UK and EU. Chapter 5 analyses the effectiveness of the regulatory framework of crypto assets in the UK, effective of July 2019. The existing regulatory perimeters of the FCA on commercial activities of crypto assets are complicated in structure and have put additional economic and operational pressures to FinTech firms. Three loopholes discovered in the secondary legislation of the UK could lead to difficulties in prosecution and court judgement for crypto asset cases in the future. Non-commercial crimes of crypto assets can be prosecuted under different Acts in the UK subject to the motives, actions and consequences taking place in a criminal process. Chapter 6 examines the consistency of crypto asset regulations within the EU using six EU countries that represent the three regulatory stages of crypto assets as examples. Despite the unified anti-money regulation within the EU under the Fifth AML Directive, the national regulatory regimes on commercial activities of crypto assets in EU countries are disparate. The unharmonised regulatory framework across the EU raises the questions of prosecution and jurisdiction for transnational activities of crypto assets. Chapter 7 recaps the research outcomes responding to the three research questions and identifies research implications as well as research limitations and the potential for further development.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Bangor University
Award date1 Jun 2020