UK regulator bans Binance from regulated activities in the country

Jun 27, 2021 | The Block News | 0 comments


Correction: This article previously stated that Binance had to stop operating in the U.K. whereas the FCA’s warning specifies it must only stop regulated activities (which excludes cryptocurrency spot trading) — and the exchange can perform such activities until the deadline in 2022.

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered crypto exchange Binance to stop undertaking any regulated activity in the country.

In the U.K., cryptoassets themselves, such as bitcoin and ether, are unregulated but certain trading products related to them, such as futures and options trading are regulated. So this means the exchange won’t be able to offer many services beyond spot trading.

The FCA announced Saturday that Binance Markets Limited and the Binance Group do not hold any form of authorization to conduct regulated activities in the U.K., but still offer citizens a range of services online.

Binance launched the U.K. entity, Binance Markets Limited, in June 2020 after acquiring an FCA-registered firm called EddieUK. Later, Binance itself reportedly applied to become a registered crypto company with the FCA, but pulled that application last month “following intensive engagement” from the watchdog.

The FCA is known to drill crypto firms before offering registration. To date, the watchdog has only approved five crypto entities: Two Gemini entities, Archax, Ziglu, Digivault, the custody business of Diginex, and Mode Global Holdings.

The current deadline for existing crypto exchanges to get FCA approval in the U.K. is March 31, 2022. The exchange will have until then before it has to stop operating — unless it reapplies and receives approval.

Stopping regulated activity

Binance has been asked to stop undertaking any regulated activity in the U.K. by June 30. The FCA has also ordered Binance to display a notice on its website and social media that it is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the country.

“The Firm will remove, or where this is not practicable, give instructions for the removal of any advertising and financial promotions it currently has live, in whatever form they take by close of business on 30 June 2021,” said the FCA.

Binance must also preserve all records relating to all its U.K. consumers and notify the FCA in writing by July 2, according to the watchdog.

The news comes at a time when Binance is said to be under scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. and Europe and has received a warning from Japan over its unregistered operations.

Binance did not immediately respond to The Block’s request for comment but has previously said, “we take a collaborative approach in working with regulators, and we take our compliance obligations very seriously.”

Binance is the largest crypto exchange in the world by trading volumes. It recorded over $1.5 trillion worth of trading volumes last month, according to The Block’s Data Dashboard.

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© 2021 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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