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UK financial watchdog extends registration deadline for some crypto firms



The Financial Conduct Authority, the United Kingdom’s financial regulator, has extended the temporary registration status of some firms offering crypto services beyond its March 31 deadline.

In a Tuesday statement, the FCA said “a small number of firms” in the crypto space will continue to have temporary registration status in the U.K. “where it is strictly necessary.” The financial regulator reiterated that temporarily exempting the crypto firms from its previously announced March 31 deadline “does not mean that the FCA has assessed them as fit and proper” but included situations in which a company “may be pursuing an appeal” or was still in the process of winding down operations.

“Only firms that are registered with us or on our list of firms with temporary registration can continue trading,” said the FCA. “Other firms must have ceased trading from 10 January 2021. Firms that have not ceased trading are at risk of being subject to the FCA’s criminal and civil enforcement powers.”

The FCA has approved registrations from 33 crypto companies since August 2020 in compliance with U.K. laws covering anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism, and handling transfers of funds. In addition, the financial regulator granted temporary registration status to several companies until March 31, at which time the FCA was expected to reach a decision on the validity of their applications.

As of March 25, there were 12 firms permitted to “carry out cryptoasset activities” under this FCA temporary status, including CEX.IO, Revolut, and Copper. The financial watchdog did not specify a new deadline for the firm’s registration to be approved or rejected, but previously extended the review period from July 2021 to March 2022.

Related: FCA reiterates power to ‘suspend or cancel’ crypto firms’ registrations following Bifinity concerns

Many crypto firms withdrew FCA registration applications following the regulator seeming to crack down on AML and CFT compliance in 2020. On March 13, the FCA ordered Bitcoin ATM operators to “shut down or face further action,” citing the lack of regulatory structure and the volatility of certain assets in addition to AML concerns.