The Financial Conduct Authority has banned Binance from advertising and establishing a UK-based operation.
In a robust slap down, the financial watchdog has ordered Binance – one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges – to cease all regulated activities in the UK, and imposed a slew of rigorous conditions.
It is understood the FCA’s move is the first in a series of crackdowns on crypto activity amid fears of digital assets being used by criminals for money laundering. The news comes only days after Scotland Yard detectives seized some £114m of cryptocurrencies that were being held by an international crime gang.
The FCA have not connected the laundering with Binance, but it would appear a widespread clampdown is on the cards in light of the Metropolitan Police investigation which has now led to one of the most eyebrow-raising interventions in the history of cryptocurrency.
Over the weekend, the FCA also delivered warnings against Binance Holdings as well as London-based Binance Markets Limited.
“Binance Markets Limited is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK,” the FCA cautioned.
“No other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK.”
It is understood Binance Markets had applied to be registered with the FCA – a standard requirement for any UK financial entity offering digital assets and exchange services – last month, but recently withdrew its application after meeting uncompromising resistance from the regulator.Act of ignominy
In a further act of ignominy, the FCA has threatened to take further measures against Binance if it fails to display a notice on the Binance Markets website to say “Binance Markets is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK”.
Binance, headed by CEO Changpeng Zhao, has been given until Wednesday evening to comply with the FCA’s in...