Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, speaks during a television interview in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday, January 11, 2018.

Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON – The cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been banned from operating in the UK by the country’s markets regulator, in the latest sign of a growing crackdown on the world’s crypto market.

UK Financial Conduct Authority said saturday that Binance Markets Limited, the UK division of Binance, “is not authorized to undertake any regulated activity in the UK”

As of June 30, the company – which already offers crypto trading to Britons through its website – must add notice in a prominent place on its website and apps showing UK users the following:

BINANCE MARKETS LIMITED IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO UNDERTAKE REGULATED ACTIVITIES IN THE UK Due to the imposition of requirements by the FCA, Binance Markets Limited is currently not permitted to engage in regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA. (No other entity in the Binance group holds any form of authorization, registration or license in the UK to conduct regulated activity in the UK).

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange in terms of transaction volumes, was set to launch its own digital asset market in Britain. However, it was one of the many crypto companies that withdrew their FCA registration applications because they did not meet anti-money laundering requirements.

“Binance Markets Limited withdrew its 5MLD application on May 17, 2021 following intensive engagement by the FCA,” an FCA spokesperson told CNBC. “The actions taken today on Binance Markets Limited have been underway for some time.”

The FCA spokesperson clarified that the scope of the ban was limited. Although Binance Markets Limited is prohibited from offering regulated services in Britain, unregistered businesses can still interact with UK consumers. This means that Binance could still offer crypto trading to Britons through its website.

A Binance spokesperson told CNBC: “FCA UK’s advice has no direct impact on the services provided on… Our relationship with our users has not changed.”

“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and take our compliance obligations very seriously,” the spokesperson added. “We actively keep abreast of changes in policies, rules and laws in this new space.”

“The FCA has said that Binance is not authorized to conduct regulated activities in the UK,” said Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at AJ Bell by email. “Providing access to cryptocurrencies per se is not a regulated activity, but offering derivatives is, which is likely the activity the FCA is cracking down on.”

The FCA isn’t the only regulator cracking down on the crypto industry.

Japan Financial Services Agency warned last week that Binance was operating in the country without its authorization.

Meanwhile, China has stepped up efforts to stamp out crypto speculation, ordering digital currency miners to shut down in a number of regions and urging banks and payment companies not to offer services related to the crypto. cryptography.

Increased regulatory control has weighed on the nascent crypto market. Bitcoin had a strong start to the year, hitting an all-time high of nearly $ 65,000 in April. But since then, its value has almost halved, trading at $ 34,783 on Monday morning.

“It’s not a drastic change in regulation that is going to bring down the crypto craze, but it’s part of a growing trend for regulatory intervention in crypto markets,” Khalaf said, making reference to FCA restrictions on Binance.

“The idea that policymakers are simply going to allow a decentralized virtual payments system to emerge without any regulatory oversight is fantastic, and if the use of cryptoassets becomes widespread, we can expect some regulation. reinforced follow. “

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