Welcome, all, to August 2022’s episode of Reportercast. The guest for this edition is Tom Spiller, a top lawyer specialised in the UK cryptocurrency industry and general international commercial litigation, and a Conservative Party activist who was given an Order of the British Empire by the Queen for his services to politics in the UK.
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Spiller is discreet but very well-connected in the finance industry, the law, and, obviously, Westminster power circles – so we were privileged to have him.
He spoke about the future of cryptocurrency, its unexpected positive contribution to Ukraine’s resistance against Russia, and how he believes the UK will become a global centre for economic activity in this area due to incoming regulations, and despite the woes seen in the prices of assets such as bitcoin, which Spiller dismisses as unimportant compared to other innovations.
Spiller is somewhat of a purist regarding crypto – he doesn’t believe the state or the industry should intervene to compensate consumers who lose money, and sees the best way forward as letting the market mature on its own, with only the requisite money laundering guardrails seen in other areas of finance.
He is a sceptic of CBDC (central bank digital currency), though he concedes such a tool might be needed in the future in case democratic countries find themselves facing a dominant digital yuan on the global stage.
He also warns that in the context of increased suspicion of Russian sanctions-busting and growing crypto regulation around the world it would not be “beyond the wit of man” for the industry to simply design technology that excludes rogue players such as North Korea, Iran and Russia from the market, and has a similar warning for certain “offshore islands” that consistently fail to implement robust money laundering regulation.
“There are various offshore island jurisdictions as well, that really are not interested in policing any activity, they just want the income,” Spiller said.
Separately, he warns crypto holders to beware of scams, especially of the new “pig fattening” type, whereby crooks take time to establish emotional relationships with their victims before ripping them off subtly without resorting to direct requests for money. But he is also optimistic about the multiplying paths of recourse victims have, such as using the courts system to place freezing orders on lost money and punish the wrongdoers.
On the slightly more sensitive topic of Tory politics, Spiller doesn’t give away much except that he’s a fan of Kemi Badenoch, is also grudgingly admiring of (and, having benefitted personally, thankful for) Tony Blair’s broad education reforms, and believes it is good that the Conservatives have allowed their leadership contest to be subject to intense public and media scrutiny over the summer.
If you are a journalist considering writing about this podcast, or just the type who prefers reading instead of listening, you may download the transcript here.
We hope you enjoy!
Many, many thanks to the multi-talented and infinitely patient and understanding P.F. who helped produce this item and for the second time had to work hard to fix the technical errors created by the host – who regrets his techno-incompetence and (again) promises to take better care next time around.