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UK’s financial watchdog has banned leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance from all regulated activities

·2-min read

The UK’s financial regulator has ruled Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, can no longer conduct any regulated activity in the country amid a global clampdown on Bitcoin.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Binance Markets Ltd, Binance’s only regulated UK entity, “must not, without the prior written consent of the FCA, carry out any regulated activities... with immediate effect”.

“Due to the imposition of requirements by the FCA, Binance Markets Limited is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA.”

The regulator warned this month that many crypto exchanges were not meeting its anti-money laundering standards and at the weekend published warnings to consumers that it was not authorised in the UK.

Even though Binance said the move would have no impact on people’s ability to trade through its website, it will be seen as hugely damaging to the site, and to cryptocurrencies’ efforts to be taken seriously as an investment asset.

Reports have said it is possible to sign up to a Binance account using a fake name, address and postcode, and buy cryptocurrency with different bank details. Banks including TSB have become increasingly alarmed at frauds on their customers by conmen with Binance accounts.

Binance said in a statement that Binance Markets, which it acquired in 2020, was not yet using its regulatory permissions, and that the FCA’s move would not impact services offered on its website.

“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously. We are actively keeping abreast of changing policies, rules and laws in this new space,” a spokesperson said.

The FCA has told Binance that by June 30 it must display a notice stating “BINANCE MARKETS LIMITED IS NOT PERMITTED TO UNDERTAKE ANY REGULATED ACTIVITY IN THE UK” on its website and social media channels.

It must also secure and preserve all records relating to UK consumers and inform the FCA this has been done by July 2.

The regulator did not explain why it had taken these measures.

People in the UK will still be able to access Binance’s services in other jurisdictions.

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