FCA adds Bitstamp, Interactive Brokers to its crypto register

abdelaziz Fathi

Bitstamp, one of the largest crypto platforms in Europe, has won regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), allowing the exchange to continue serving UK-based customers. With this registration, Bitstamp now holds a total of 52 global licenses.

Bitstamp

This milestone makes Bitstamp the first crypto exchange to be registered by the City watchdog since the UK Treasury initiated a consultation in February 2023 to enhance crypto regulations.

The FCA’s registration allows the exchange to offer custody services for digital assets, facilitate the buying or selling of cryptocurrencies using legal tender, as well as the trading of cryptoassets against other cryptocurrencies.

Only 42 cryptocurrency-related companies are currently registered with Britain’s financial regulator. However, there are dozens of other crypto firms registered under the Temporary Registration Regime list. Bitstamp U.K. Limited and Interactive Brokers, which were was listed on the FCA’s temporary crypto-asset business register, have become the first companies to be registered with the FCA in approximately six months.

The FCA’s approval means that the exchange is compliant with AML laws in the country, as far as its activities go. Bitstamp was required to show that it maintains the same anti-money laundering standards as regulated banks in the country have to meet.

“This achievement follows our second consecutive first-place ranking among the 130 centralized crypto exchanges in CCData’s (formerly CryptoCompare) latest Exchange Benchmark report in April 2023. Bitstamp was the only platform to receive the highest rating, an AA, not only in the latest report but also in the four previous editions,” Bitstamp said in a statement.

Since January 2020, the City watchdog has become the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing supervisor of UK’s crypto asset firms. At the time, the FCA kicked off a registration scheme for crypto-asset firms with an initial deadline of one year.

However, nearly 70 crypto businesses had withdrawn earlier submitted filings for registration as the country tightens its regulation on the space. By retracting their applications, these firms had to cease operation in the UK, though more than 200 firms are still being assessed by the FCA.

Earlier this week, the UK introduced new advertising rules for firms marketing crypto assets to consumers. Citing concern over investor protection, the FCA watchdog suggests that customers should take a brief period to educate themselves further about the risks involved.

Under the new rules, the UK financial watchdog introduced a 24-hour “cooling-off” period specifically for first-time investors. This pause allows investors to take a step back and reconsider their decision before proceeding with this type of risky investment. Additionally, the practice of offering ‘refer a friend’ bonuses will be prohibited.

The new regulations also require firms promoting crypto products or services to include a clear risk warning in their promotions and verify that individuals have the necessary knowledge and experience to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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