The crypto climate in the US is heating up after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) levied charges of legal violations against Coinbase and Binance this week. In the backdrop of the ongoing chaos, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has decided to go international with its presence. The crypto and Web3-focussed company will be establishing itself in the UK now, citing that the crypto climate in the country is predictable in terms of operating a business associated to the digital assets sector.
Later this year, the 14-year-old company will be setting up an office in London, UK. The decision was finalised after company leaders had conversations with the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as well as UK’s HM Treasury.
The development has been confirmed by Chris Dixon, a a16z managing partner. This marks the VC firm’s first step outside of the US.
“The UK policymakers and regulators are taking an approach that is uniquely tailored to blockchain and digital asset regulation. It has become clear that the UK government sees the promise of Web3, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggesting the UK can become a hub of Web3 innovation. UK authorities are also willing to work with the industry to create policies that incentivise startups to pursue decentralisation,” Dixon wrote in an official blog post over the weekend.
Big news to share: @a16z is expanding to the UK :gb:
We plan to open our first international office in London later this year, and will host the next Crypto Startup School there in 2024.
Why the UK? :point_down:https://t.co/PQ7GuNEn77
— cdixon.eth (@cdixon) June 11, 2023
In recent months, British PM Sunak has been working actively to shape up the UK’s crypto and Web3 sector.
Going into 2023, the UK exempted foreigners who are using local British crypto exchanges for buying cryptocurrencies from paying taxes.
The British government, which legalised stablecoins last year, is exploring avenues to empower local financial regulators with more authority over the crypto sector.
UK aims to invite crypto players to generate more business in the country and fetch hefty revenues to strengthen its economy amid the ongoing global slump.
British financial authorities have reportedly been working with crypto businesses and groups to formulate appropriate laws. In July last year, the UK law commission had proposed amendments in the existing property laws to include cryptocurrencies and other virtual digital assets.
“UK is on the right path to becoming a leader in crypto regulation. The UK also has deep pools of talent, world-leading academic institutions, and a strong entrepreneurial culture. It is home to more ‘unicorns’ than Germany, France, and Sweden combined; to some of the world’s largest financial markets and pools of capital; and to highly-sophisticated, world-class regulators. All of these make the UK strongly positioned to lead in Web3. Because of this, we announced today that we will open a16z’s first office outside of the United States,” Dixon noted.
The London office of a16z will be led by General Partner, Sriram Krishnan, under whom the company will be engaging with the Web3-focussed student clubs of the UK universities to initiate the creation of the Web3 ecosystem.
“I am thrilled world-leading investor, Andreessen Horowitz, has decided to open their first international office in the UK. We must embrace new innovations like Web3, powered by blockchain technology, which will enable start-ups to flourish here and grow the economy. That success is founded on having the right regulation and guardrails in place to protect consumers and foster innovation. While there’s still work to do, I’m determined to unlock opportunities for this technology and turn the UK into the world’s Web3 centre,” Dixon’s blog quoted PM Sunak as saying.
Andreessen Horowitz, via the UK, aims to look for business opportunities in Europe, where the MiCA regulation has been passed to govern the crypto sector.