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The United Kingdom’s financial regulator has banned the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance from operating in the country — as governments around the world consider how to regulate the burgeoning sector.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority announced Saturday that Binance Markets Limited, the company’s UK affiliate, “is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the U.K.”
The move will still allow UK residents to access binance.com, the company said, but the FCA added that Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has until the close of business on Wednesday to remove all advertising and financial promotions it currently has up.
By the same date, the FCA said, the company must add a warning in a prominent place on its website and mobile app that reads:
“BINANCE MARKETS LIMITED IS NOT PERMITTED TO UNDERTAKE ANY REGULATED ACTIVITY IN THE UK. Due to the imposition of requirements by the FCA, Binance Markets Limited is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA. (No other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or license to conduct regulated activity in the UK).”
In a statement on Twitter, Binance noted Sunday that the affiliate targeted by the UK restrictions is a “separate legal entity” from Binance.
Even though the FCA’s move bars Binance Markets Limited from offering regulated services in the country, non-registered firms like binance.com can still interact with residents in the UK, the FCA said.
The FCA’s move comes almost a month after the regulator issued a statement, saying that a “significantly high” number of crypto firms were failing to meet the country’s recently issued requirements on preventing money laundering.
Those guidelines prompted several crypto firms, including Binance Markets Limited, to withdraw their applications to officially register with the FCA.
It’s just the latest move by regulators around the world to crackdown on and try to reel in the crypto sector.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency issued a warning last that Binance was operating in the country without registration.
And in China, regulators have escalated their efforts to halt cryptocurrency mining and prevent banks and other financial firms from hosting crypto services.
In the US, too, Binance is under scrutiny. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is looking into whether Binance allowed Americans to make trades that it’s not permitted to host, according to Bloomberg. The outlet also reported that the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service, are investigating the exchange.
Binance hasn’t yet been accused of wrongdoing by any of the agencies and it remains unclear if the US will seek enforcement action.
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