UK Member of Parliament Joins Crypto Exchange as Adviser, Quits Four Days Later
One of the U.K.’s Conservative Party members has both joined and left an advisory role at a cryptocurrency exchange platform in the last week.
Stephen Hammond, MP, stated that his position at the IronX digital asset trading venue might be seen as a conflict of interest.
IronX Promotes Risks Hammond Has Previously Warned About
According to a report in the Financial Times’s Alphaville column, Conservative MP Stephen Hammond started working for a digital currency exchange platform last week. However, today it emerged he lasted just four days in the position before announcing his intentions to quit.
The role Hammond had taken was described on the IronX website as advising “on government relations.” For this, the MP would be paid in the platform’s native token, IRX. For just two or three days work each quarter, he would be awarded 50,000 IRX – today valued at around £16,000.
It seems curious that Hammond would take such a role in the first place. The Conservative MP has a place on the Treasury Committee, which has been investigating cryptocurrency and blockchain technology for a while now. In a recent report, the committee warned of the dangers posed to retail investors taking up positions in cryptocurrency – something that IronX, as an exchange platform, seeks to encourage explicitly. The report reads:
“On account of their volatility alone, crypto-assets are especially risky, particularly for inexperienced retail investors.”
The Treasury Committee also warned about the dangers of ICO fundraising methods. Such a token sale is also part of the IronX business model:
“Crypto assets and ICOs are extremely risky, and the Committee agrees with the FCA that investors should be prepared to lose all their money.”
When asked for comment on his decision to both join and leave the startup within the space of a week, Hammond stated that he initially believed he was well-suited for the role since he had experience in both politics and cryptocurrency.
After mulling the idea properly, however, the MP noticed that there could be a conflict of interest between his role in government and that at IronX:
“… crypto is going to be increasingly going to be a major part of the financial world and therefore it may well affect a number of Treasury Select Committee inquiries, and potentially therefore that might cause a greater conflict than I had first hoped it might.”
Unsurprisingly, when grilled about the IronX’s goals being at odds with the Treasury Committee’s reports on the space, Hammond did not provide comment.
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