In order to help train staff about the money laundering and terrorism financing risks associated with the crypto industry, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released a tender for external consultants.
As a result of concerns about bad actors utilizing crypto assets, the FCA will spend £500,000 on these consultants.
The FCA is seeking assistance with the analysis of blockchain data from crypto assets. In a statement, the FCA said it is looking for a firm that specializes in blockchain analysis of crypto assets and can offer training and support in that area.
Crypto-related terrorism financing has been making headlines in the past few months.
The U.S. Department of Justice has equated ransomware attacks, which often involve cryptocurrencies, to terrorism and a Hamas spokesperson admitted a spike in Bitcoin donations amid renewed conflict with Israel.
In addition to being the latest move in the FCA's approach to cryptocurrencies, it represents a significant shift in the agency's priorities.
Over the course of 2021, the FCA has made a number of high-profile decisions regarding the crypto industry, most of which have focused on protecting consumers and investors.
A ban on crypto derivatives was implemented by the FCA in January, citing, among other reasons, price volatility and a lack of consumer understanding.
In addition, the regulator has issued a consumer warning against the crypto industry several times that cautioned investors to prepare to "lose all their money" if they invested in crypto assets.
There are a number of concerns the FCA raises in the consumer warning, including price volatility, misleading marketing, and a lack of consumer knowledge.
FCA's new crypto training program, however, shows the agency's concern goes beyond consumer protection when it comes to cryptos.
FCA announcements have largely centered on consumer protection, but the regulator has been the UK's money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog since January of last year.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority, all firms engaging in specific crypto activities fall within the scope of the UK's Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Transfer of Fund Regulations, and thus is subject to FCA oversight.
The FCA has granted some firms licenses since then, while others have struggled.