UK’s FCA hints at why its given only 15% of crypto firms the regulatory nod


Despite plans to turn the region into a bustling crypto hub, the UK financial watchdog says it has given the go-ahead to just 41 of the 300 applications from crypto firms seeking regulatory approval to date.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) implemented new cryptocurrency-focused regulations on January 10, 2020 to oversee companies operating in the sector and ensure they are subject to the same anti-money laundering (AML) measures ) and the fight against money laundering. terrorist financing (CTF) regulations as companies in traditional financial markets.

A declaration of the FCA has revealed that of the 265 applications that were “determined”, only 15% of these applications were approved and registered, 74% of the companies rejected or withdrew their application, while 11% were rejected. Another 35 applications remain to be determined.

While the FCA did not expressly state the reason for the rejected or withdrawn applications, it did provide feedback on “good and poor quality” applications.

The most comprehensive applications included a detailed description of the company’s business model, the roles and responsibilities of trading partners and service providers, sources of liquidity, flow-of-funds diagrams, and a summary of the policies and systems in place to manage risk, the report said.

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A flowchart that helps companies understand if they need to register with the FCA. Source: FCA

Incomplete applications were most apparent when companies used the app to promote their products and services, particularly where the application process was still ongoing:

“Applicant websites and marketing materials must not include language that gives the impression that filing an application for registration is a form of endorsement or recommendation by the FCA.”

The report suggests that some companies’ applications may have been dropped if they were unable to demonstrate that they had sufficient blockchain compliance resources in place to monitor on-chain transactions.

The FCA has also doubled down on its anti-money laundering stance, requiring all companies to appoint a money laundering reporting officer who is “fully involved” in the application process.

The FCA also stressed that even for those companies that have obtained approval for their registrations, such approval does not mean that they are no longer free of obligation:

“Applicants should recognize that being registered is not a one-time formality or tick-a-box exercise without further obligations or interaction with the FCA.”

“This feedback should help applicants as they prepare their registration application and help make the process as simple and efficient as possible,” the note summarized.

Between registered digital asset signatures under the FCA so far include, Revolut, CEX.IO, eToro, Wintermute Trading, DRW Global Markets, Copper, Globalblock, Moneybrain, and Zodia Markets.

Related: UK Authorities Divide Over Ban on Sale of Crypto Investment Products

Since many companies provide international services, the UK FCA also confirmed that they are now collaborating with other state agencies around the world, most notably the US securities regulator and the US commodities regulator, to strengthen regulation where necessary.

The FCA has emphasized on several occasions that failure to register before conducting business may result in criminal charges.