The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a consumer warning against cryptocurrency exchange FTX for operating within the jurisdiction of the UK watchdog without authorisation. The FCA has recently been compiling a list of digital asset companies that have registered and adhered to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Transfer of Funds Regulations (Information on the Payer) of 2017 since August 2020. Thus far, the 37 firms on the list include crypto exchanges Gemini, Kraken, Galaxy Digital, and eToro, among others, with challenger bank Revolut on temporary registration status.
In a statement, the FCA said that “almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us” and that FTX “is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK.”
What does remain to be seen, however, is whether FTX will face any immediate fallout from the warning or whether they will have the opportunity to discuss their case with the regulator.
It is worth noting that the FCA oversees more than 50,000 financial companies in the UK to ensure that they comply with regulations. It requires crypto-related companies to register and comply with anti-money laundering regulations, including implementing KYC restrictions for customers.
The warning against Sam Bankman-Friend’s multi-billion-dollar powerhouse is yet another instance of the FCA sounding the alarm on the digital assets sector. The regulator has been keeping a close eye on the space since digital assets boomed in 2021, warning companies against misleading marketing campaigns and banning all Bitcoin ATMs (via BBC) in the country.
It was also one of several regulators to step in against Binance over its regulatory practices last year, posting a similar warning about FTX to flag that the world’s top cryptocurrency exchange posed “a significant risk” to UK consumers.
Binance made several big changes, including introducing mandatory KYC restrictions and reducing its maximum leverage offering from 100x to 20x, in response to the regulatory attention.