UK Financial Regulator Looking Into More than 20 Cryptocurrency Firms
The U.K.’s main financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is making inquiries into 24 businesses who deal in cryptocurrency and has opened seven cryptocurrency-related reports by whistleblowers in 2018. The information came from the FCA in response to a Freedom of Information request made by U.K. accountancy firm Moore Stephens, Bitsonline has confirmed.
24 Firms Being Probed, Seven Whistleblower Reports File This Year
A copy of the statement, which Bitsonline received a copy of, says the FCA is “making enquiries into the activities of 24 unauthorised firms that are involved in some form of cryptocurrency business to determine whether they might be carrying on regulated activities that require FCA authorisation.”
The FCA also noted that there had been seven whistleblower reports related to crypto filed so far in 2018. The outcomes of those reports have not yet been shared with the public. The statement said there had been no similar reports reported to the FCA between the years 2014 and 2017.
There are currently no formal investigations ongoing, though the regulatory body could open them if it determines there is wrongdoing. However, the FCA also noted that not all crypto-assets are within the purview of the agency, though cryptocurrency derivatives were. It has also issued warnings about initial coin offerings (ICOs).
The U.K. and Other Governments Increasing Scrutiny of the Crypto Space
The U.K government announced in March that it was creating a taskforce that included the Bank of England and the FCA to investigate cryptocurrencies. That came after news in February that the lawmakers on the British Parliament’s Treasury Committee would be starting an investigation into cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
In general, the U.K. has been relatively passive around making crypto rules, in spite–or because–of it having one the largest financial industries of any country in the world.
Back in April, Ripple called upon British lawmakers to clarify regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies to allow for industry development. And a trade body of seven crypto exchanges called CryptoUK is also calling for more regulation.
Some crypto-firms are making progress, however, like American exchange Coinbase, which made inroads into the country in March by opening an account with British bank Barclays and receiving an e-money license from the FCA.
Other countries in Europe are at various stages of dealing with the cryptocurrency phenomenon. In Ireland, there are plans in the Department of Finance to create a working group around crypto and blockchain. Russian parliamentarians are in the process of passing new cryptocurrency laws. Earlier this month in Poland, the Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) announced that it was funding a media campaign to educate the public about the risks of trading cryptocurrencies. This came after reports that the Central Bank of Poland had admitted to having hired popular YouTubers to warn against the dangers of crypto.
Here are the results of that work, done by popular Polish YouTuber Marcin Dubiel. Though it’s in Polish, the general idea can be grasped fairly easily:
What’s your take? Do you think this is just the beginning of similar episodes? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via isbank, alestreetnews