Is Binance banned in UK?
Binance, one of the world's leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has been banned from operating in the UK. The IndependentBinance banned in the UK: what does it mean for cryptocurrency traders and prices?
LONDON – Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been banned from operating in the U.K. by the country's markets regulator, in the latest sign of a growing crackdown on the crypto market around the world.
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said Saturday that Binance Markets Limited, the U.K. division of Binance, "is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the U.K."
From June 30, the company — which already offers Brits crypto trading through its website — must add a notice in a prominent place in its website and apps showing U.K. users the following text:
BINANCE MARKETS LIMITED IS NOT PERMITTED TO UNDERTAKE ANY REGULATED ACTIVITY IN THE U.K. 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 U.K. authorisation, registration or license to conduct regulated activity in the U.K.).
Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange by trading volumes, was set to launch its own digital asset marketplace in Britain. However, it was one of several crypto firms that withdrew applications to register with the Financial Conduct Authority due to not meeting anti-money laundering requirements.
"Binance Markets Limited withdrew their 5MLD application on 17 May 2021 following intensive engagement from the FCA," a spokesperson for the FCA told CNBC. "The action taken today on Binance Markets Limited has been in train for some time."
The FCA spokesperson clarified that the scope of the ban was limited. Though Binance Markets Limited is banned from offering regulated services in Britain, non-registered firms can still interact with U.K. consumers. That means Binance could still offer Brits crypto trading through its website.
A Binance spokesperson told CNBC: "The FCA U.K. notice has no direct impact on the services provided on 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," the spokesperson added. "We are actively keeping abreast of changing policies, rules and laws in this new space."
The FCA isn't the only regulator clamping down on the crypto industry.
Increased regulatory scrutiny has weighed on the nascent crypto market. Bitcoin had a solid start to the year, rallying to an all-time high of almost $65,000 in April. But it's since almost halved in value, trading at $34,783 as of Monday morning.
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29 June, 2021 - 10:30am
An FCA spokesperson said that the number of abandoned registrations jumped by a quarter in less than a month. Around 64 applications have been withdrawn, which is up from 51 in early June, the spokesman said.
The FCA was appointed anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing supervisor of crypto asset firms in January. Since then, crypto firms have had to register with the FCA before doing business. So far, the FCA has only registered six firms with dozens more still being assessed.
However, firms that registered with the FCA before December 2020 are eligible for the Temporary Registrations Regimes (TRR). These firms can apply for the TRR, which allows them to continue trading while the FCA assesses their registration.
The original deadline for the TRR was July 9, but was recently extended to March 2022. The FCA said it was extending the deadline because many businesses were not meeting the required anti-money laundering standards. Similarly to proper registration, “an unprecedented number of businesses” had withdrawn their applications, according to the FCA’s Mark Steward said.
Meanwhile, the FCA recently issued a warning against Binance, one of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges. The regulator also barred Binance from conducting any regulated activity in Britain. This means the UK now joins other nations that have started scrutinizing Binance.
A statement on the Binance website said that Ontario had become a restricted jurisdiction. As such, any users of the exchange based in the Ontario region were advised to “take immediate measures to close out all active positions by December 31, 2021.” Additionally, Japan’s regulator said that Binance was operating in the country illegally.
“The FCA is aligning with other major regulators, notably in the U.S. and Asia,” compliance head at Spectrum Markets Alpay Soytürk said.
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29 June, 2021 - 10:30am
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ruled that the firm cannot conduct any "regulated activity" in the UK, the BBC reports.
It also issued a consumer warning about Binance.com, advising people to be wary of adverts promising high returns on cryptoasset investments.
Binance said the FCA notice would have no "direct impact" on the services it provides from its website Binance.com.
Binance's existing crypto exchange is not UK-based so despite the FCA ruling, there will be no impact on UK residents who use the website to purchase and sell crypto-currencies.
The FCA does not regulate crypto-currencies, but requires exchanges to register with them. Binance has not registered with the FCA and therefore is not allowed to operate an exchange in the UK.
The FCA move comes amid pushback from regulators around the world against crypto-currency platforms.
Binance.com is an online centralised exchange that offers users a range of financial products and services, including purchasing and trading a wide range of digital currencies, as well as digital wallets, futures, securities, savings accounts and even lending.
Binance Group is currently based in the Cayman Islands, while Binance Markets Limited is an affiliate firm based in London. The firm has multiple entities dotted around the world and Binance Group was previously based in Malta.
The FCA said that Binance Markets Limited (BML), which is owned by Binance Group, is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA. It has until Wednesday to comply with the ruling.
The regulator also stressed that no entity in the Binance Group holds any form of authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK.
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29 June, 2021 - 10:30am
Simon Matthews, Binance’s director of public relations in Europe, told Finance Magnates that the term “ban” is “not technically accurate.”
“The FCA notice is in reference to permissions held by Binance Markets Limited which wouldn’t really constitute a ban,” Simon explained.
Indeed, “We are aware of recent reports about an FCA UK notice in relation to Binance Markets Limited (BML),” he continued.
“BML is a separate legal entity and does not offer any products or services via the Binance.com website. Binance acquired BML May 2020 and has not yet launched its UK business or used its FCA regulatory permissions. For questions related to BML, please contact email@example.com.”
Simon also noted that “The FCA UK notice has no direct impact on the services provided on 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.”
How do the FCA’s actions impact Binance and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole?
While there have been many voices in the crypto industry that consistently say that new regulation is a positive thing for the industry, it seems that the FCA’s statement against Binance hasn’t struck the right chord.
“Governments that are early to provide the right clarity around crypto can allow their citizens to have more freedom, privacy, and control over their financial lives in the long term,” said Colin Pape, Founder of decentralized search engine Presearch, to Finance Magnates.
However, he believes that “the UK’s enforcement against Binance is simply another battle against decentralization.”
“The crypto ecosystem shares a common goal in making this technology accessible around the globe… Projects should continue paving a path that prioritizes the values of communities without a constant interruption of government interests,” he said.
So far, the reasons for the FCA’s public warning against Binance are unclear. UK-based financial advisor James Finn, who is also the operator of SaferInvestor.com, told Finance Magnates that “As of Monday 28 June, The FCA has not issued a statement as to why it was taking measures against Binance.”
However, “What is known is that since January, the FCA has required that all firms offering cryptocurrency-related services to UK citizens must register with them.”
Indeed, in early 2020, the FCA set up a new “registration authorisation” for cryptocurrency companies. Under the rules of the authorization, cryptocurrency companies were required to apply for the right to continue their operations by January 9th, 2021; the deadline was then extended to July of 2021, and then again to March of 2022.
While Binance has not commented publicly on whether or not it has submitted an application for registration authorization with the FCA, or what the status of such an application might be, the FCA’s warning indicated that it has not authorized Binance nor its subsidiaries to operate 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,” the statement said. “No other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK.”
However, in spite of the fact that dozens of crypto firms have applied for the registration authorization, only a handful have been accepted; of more than 200 applications for authorization that have been submitted to the FCA this and last year; as of April of 2021, only four had been approved.
In April, Ian Taylor, the chair of crypto industry trade body CryptoUK, told Finance Magnates that this regulatory “logjam” had brought the UK’s crypto industry to a sort of “tipping point.”
Indeed, why aren’t companies getting approved? Ian pointed to two likely reasons during the interview–first, that “the quality of some applicants aren’t perhaps to the standards required.”
“This is understandable,” Ian explained. “It’s a new regime, and many participants haven’t operated within regulatory regimes previously.”
Secondly, Ian pointed to the fact that “the number of applications that the FCA received were far above the original forecast,” he continued. “We know that the FCA thought that they would receive 80 applications; they received almost three times that amount.”
In early June, the FCA published a statement on the low number of accepted applications and its decision to postpone the registration deadline a second time.
“A significantly high number of businesses are not meeting the required standards under the Money Laundering Regulations,” the Authority wrote. “This has resulted in an unprecedented number of businesses withdrawing their applications.”
“The extended date allows cryptoasset firms to continue to carry on business while the FCA continues with its robust assessment.”
The statement also commented on investors’ level of risk in the cryptocurrency industry: “Many cryptoassets are highly speculative and can therefore lose value quickly. The FCA does not have consumer protection powers for the cryptoasset activities of firms,” the statement said.
“…It is unlikely that consumers will have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme, irrespective of whether a firm has temporary or full registration.”
Binance and other cryptocurrency firms could potentially face further regulatory struggles beyond the UK in the coming months
James Finn told Finance Magnates that “The Securities and Exchange Commission of The USA issued a similar warning to US consumers in April 2021 about [Binance] for money laundering and tax offences.” Indeed, Bloomberg reports that the United States SEC has investigated Binance Holdings, one of Binance’s entities, on the basis of dealings with money laundering and tax evasion.
Additionally, in June 2021, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued Binance its third warning in two years for trading in Japan without permission. In April, Thailand’s SEC issued a similar warning.
Binance customers cannot withdraw and deposit pounds through Faster Payments – FT in the UK - Texas News Today
28 June, 2021 - 03:50pm
(Reuters) -Customers on the British crypto exchange Binance are no longer able to withdraw or deposit pounds through a system called Faster Payments, the Financial Times reported Monday.
According to the report https://on.ft.com/3dlymtM, the ability to remove Sterling from the platform through Faster Payments was “paused for maintenance” on the main exchange Binance.com.
The news came a few days after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial regulator, banned crypto exchanges from doing business in the UK.
Binance did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment, but Faster Payments could not be reached.
(Report by Sneha Bhowmik; edited by Sriraj Kalluvila)
Source link Binance customers cannot withdraw and deposit pounds through Faster Payments – FT in the UK
28 June, 2021 - 10:57am
LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - A growing number of crypto asset firms are abandoning attempts to register with Britain's financial regulator as global scrutiny of the rapidly-growing sector intensifies.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned Binance, one of the world's biggest crypto exchanges, on Friday from conducting any regulated activity in Britain as regulators across the world bolster oversight of the crypto sector.
Data on registrations shows the number which have been ditched has jumped by a quarter in less than a month, an FCA spokesperson said on Monday, adding that Binance withdrew its application in mid-May, without giving further details.
Crypto-related firms have since January had to register with the FCA, which oversees compliance with laws designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, before doing business.
Just six firms have registered, with dozens more still being assessed but not yet deemed "fit and proper". Around 64 have withdrawn their applications, the spokesperson said, up from 51 in early June.
A Binance spokesperson declined to comment, but said it worked closely with regulators and law enforcement "to further the security and sustainability in the industry while providing the best services and protection to our users".
Regulatory concerns about cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin include their potential for use in money laundering and other illegal activities, as well as potential risks to consumers.
Binance, run by Canadian Changpeng Zhao, is one of the most significant players in the crypto world. It offers services ranging from digital token trading to derivatives, as well as emerging technology such as tokenised versions of stocks.
Yet its regulatory structure is opaque.
Its spokesperson declined to comment on where its holding company is based, describing Binance as "decentralised".
Binance has been targeted by regulators across the world in recent months.
Japan's regulator said on Friday that Binance was operating in the country illegally, a notice posted on Japan's Financial Services Agency website showed.
"The FCA is aligning with other major regulators, notably in the U.S. and Asia," Alpay Soytürk, compliance head at Spectrum Markets, a securitised derivatives trading venue, said.
Bitcoin, which has fallen about 18% in the last 13 days as China tightens curbs on the cryptocurrency sector, shrugged off the FCA move, and was last up 0.3% at $34,767. (Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alexander Smith)
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