The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has prohibited Binance Markets Limited (BML) from undertaking any regulated activity in Britain.
The company is part of the Binance Group, which terms itself as operating the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange.
The FCA said: “No other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK. The Binance Group appear to be offering UK customers a range of products and services via a website, Binance.com,” it added.
In a series of tweets, the company responded by saying: “BML is a separate legal entity and does not offer any products or services via the http://Binance.com website.
“The Binance Group acquired BML May 2020 and has not yet launched its UK business or used its FCA regulatory permissions …
“The FCA UK notice has no direct impact on the services provided on http://Binance.com. Our relationship with our users has not changed.
“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously. We are actively keeping abreast of changing policies, rules and laws in this new space.”
However, Binance announced on 26 June – the same day the FCA issued its advice to consumers – that it is pulling out of Ontario in Canada after the province’s securities commission accused it and other crypto trading platforms of failing to comply with local regulations. The day before, Japan’s Financial Services Agency warned Binance for the second time in three years that it is operating in the country without permission.
The Binance.com exchange offers online purchasing, trading, futures, securities, savings accounts and lending as well as digital wallets digital currencies. The group is based in the Cayman Islands, the BML affiliate in London.
Accompanying its consumer warning about Binance, the FCA said: “Be wary of adverts, online and on social media, promising high returns on investments in cryptoasset or cryptoasset-related products. Most firms advertising and selling investments in cryptoassets are not authorised by the FCA.”
The watchdog does not regulate cryptoassets such as Bitcoin or Ether, but regulates derivatives and cryptoassets considered securities. A company must be authorised by the FCA to advertise or sell these products in the UK.
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