The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, to cease all regulated activity and issued a warning to consumers about using the platform.
The notice, published at the weekend, comes as regulators worldwide continue to tighten the screw on crypto trading amid concerns about consumer protections and digital currencies being used for money laundering.
Binance has come under close scrutiny in several countries and the FCA said its UK division, Binance Markets Ltd, must seek written permission from the City watchdog before carrying out any regulated activities ‘with immediate effect’.
The regulator stressed that ‘no other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK’.
Although trading in digital currencies is currently unregulated, Binance and other exchanges offer a range of regulated services, such as derivatives trading.
The FCA has also ordered Binance to display a notice on its website saying it is ‘not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK’.
Binance said it takes its ‘compliance obligations very seriously’, but added the FCA’s notice about its UK subsidiary has ‘no direct impact on the services provided by binance.com’.
Authorities worldwide have begun taking a tougher stance on crypto, with in particular in the sights of regulators. Japan’s Financial Services Agency warned at the weekend that the company does not have permission to operate in the country.
Last month the German financial watchdog BaFin said Binance’s plans to offer digital tokens designed to track stocks risked breaking its consumer protection laws.