UK sets out plans to regulate crypto and protect consumers

On the other hand, if regulation is shown to be too prohibitive, expensive or deters users, that may push prices down as demand drops. For example  crypto influencer Matt Lorion had to apologise to his TikTok followers in April 2021 after he had promoted the Mando cryptocurrency to his millions of followers, which turned out to be a scam. It is with these factors in mind that the City watchdog is looking to regulate the sector where it can. Uncover the essentials of building and scaling a crypto AML program and how to navigate regulatory change.

Are cryptocurrency firms regulated in the UK

Firms waiting for approval by the FCA were put on its “Temporary Registration Regime” (TRR), which enabled them to do business until April 1. “The Treasury will consult on its approach with industry and stakeholders ahead of using the powers to ensure the framework reflects the unique benefits and risks posed by crypto activities,” Griffith said. The draft bill already included measures to extend existing regulations to payments-focused stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to the value of other assets like the U.S. dollar or gold.

We expect firms to ensure that consumers understand the extent of business that is regulated and to clearly distinguish those elements which are unregulated business. At all times, firms remain responsible for identifying and managing potential risks related to cryptoassets. Given the ability of UK consumers to access cryptoassets services anywhere in the world, HMT is proposing to regulate cryptoasset activities provided in or to UK clients.

  • The Act shows an approach that allows cryptocurrency innovation to flourish in the UK while still increasing consumer protection.
  • Once they have approval from one local authority and are in accordance with the EU regulations, they can operate anywhere in the EU.
  • Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International.

That would mean exchanges, trading platforms and cryptoasset providers would need to ensure that users understand the significant risks of what they are buying. Voted in favor of recognizing crypto assets under regulated financial activities in the country on Tuesday. The amendments to Part 2 of POCA will ensure that the relevant post-conviction powers relating to search, seizure, and detention of property take account of the digital nature of certain assets, including cryptoassets. Otherwise, Part 2 is considered effective by law enforcement for the purpose of dealing with cryptoassets and has already been used in terrorism cases involving such assets. Enable law enforcement to recover cryptoassets direct from cryptoasset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers. Assets may be recovered where the magistrates court is satisfied the above test applies.

Today, Bybit announced it is proactively suspending its services in the UK ahead of new cryptocurrency marketing rules set to be enforced by the country’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, on October 8, 2023. 6) A crypto-asset business must respond fully and without delay to a request in writing from a law enforcement authority for any information in connection to these requirements. Proof of address documents can include current bank statements or credit/debit card statements issued by a regulated financial sector firm in the UK, in addition to utility bills. Companies that deal with security tokens must register with the FCA because they are considered “regulated tokens”. Meanwhile, companies that deal with exchange and utility tokens do not have to register.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Her Majesty’s Treasury, the ‘Exchequer’ or simply the ‘Treasury’ is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom that is in charge of all public finance policy and economic policy. UK AML requirements additionally need KYC (Know-Your-Customer) and CDD (Customer Due Diligence) checks for all customers of crypto native businesses such as the user’s legal name, their photo id as shown in an official document, and their proof of residence. These requirements are made in the “The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer ofFunds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017″.

This does not justify applying a different evidential test on the source of wealth and we expect firms to exercise particular care in these cases. HMT expects that same custody requirements will apply to all types of cryptoassets. Therefore, for cryptoassets that already meet the definition of a specified investment (security tokens), the existing regulatory framework that currently applies will be replaced by the new custody regime. There is no regulation of cryptocurrency regulation in the UK cryptocurrencies but crypto businesses providing services with digital tokens must be approved and register with the FCA for anti-money laundering regulations. (4) the communication falls under an exemption in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (“FPO”). Note that existing FPO exemptions for promotions to high-net-worth individuals and self-certified sophisticated investors will not apply to crypto assets, and the U.K.

The value of your investment may fall as well as rise and you may get back less than your initial investment. Any crypto businesses operating before January 2021 can trade on an interim licence until a decision is made on their anti-money laundering registration by the FCA. It banned Binance, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, from operating in the UK in 2021 amid concerns about the business structure, how consumers purchase products and its legal owner. Additionally, the founders of digital currencies don’t have any responsibilities that executives at regulated firms have such as treating customers fairly and making terms and prices clear. Here is what regulation could mean for cryptocurrency investors andcrypto-asset businesses.

Reform of current legislation is necessary as the proceeds of crime are increasingly held in the form of cryptoassets. For example, cryptoassets are one of only a few accepted payment mechanisms used by cyber criminals demanding payment following a ransomware attack, which poses a significant threat to the UK public and businesses. There is also a risk that cryptoassets become increasingly exploited to raise and move funds for terrorist activities in the future. It is important that we intervene now and ensure our legislation is future-proofed to mitigate the risk of new and emerging threats by taking into account the unique technical features of cryptoassets. Current counter-terrorism legislation includes forfeiture powers, but these are currently limited to terrorist cash, terrorist listed assets and terrorist money in bank accounts. Even though cryptocurrencies themselves like bitcoin are not regulated, some types of cryptoassets – such as security tokens, which fall within the FCA’s regulatory remit – may be, if the firm is registered with the FCA.

Are cryptocurrency firms regulated in the UK

HMT recognises that until international standards and coordination are in place it will be difficult to ensure the same level of market integrity and consumer protection as is offered in traditional securities markets. Consumers and market participants will need to be made aware of these limitations. All crypto exchanges or businesses operating in the UK are supposed to have been registered with the FCA for anti-money laundering regulations.

Are cryptocurrency firms regulated in the UK

However, in developing countries and even jurisdictions like the U.S where wire transfers can take several days and cost much more, cryptoasset transfers may be more efficient and therefore more appealing. Cryptoassets’ low transaction fees and transaction speed could be seen to be beneficial when compared to dealing with some financial transactions such as international payments. Cryptoasset transactions often take less than a minute to complete (no matter where the parties are located).

Breach of the financial promotion restriction is a criminal offense (with the possibility of unlimited fines and/or imprisonment) and any agreement resulting from such promotion may be unenforceable. Consumers, regardless of where the promoter is based (i.e. also covering firms outside the U.K. targeting U.K. consumers) or what technology is used. UK crypto companies have to follow a substantial number of regulations to stay compliant and avoid penalties. At the same time, the UK government is working towards making these regulations clearer. For example, on February 1, 2023, the UK HM Treasury released a consultation on the Future Financial Services Regime for Crypto Assets following the collapse of FTX, in a bid to improve the regulatory framework and sector engagement.

The UK will implement, for example, directives equivalent to the EU’s Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA) and E-Money proposals, along with various AML directives. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to grow the economy and enable technological change and innovation – and this includes cryptoasset technology. Our robust approach to regulation mitigates the most significant risks, while harnessing the advantages of crypto technologies. This enables a new and exciting sector to safely flourish and grow, boosting jobs and investment. Cryptoassets – commonly known as ‘crypto’ – are a relatively new, diverse and constantly evolving class of assets that have a range of potential benefits, as well as posing risks to the consumer.