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UK’s FCA Continues Clampdown on Unauthorized Exchanges

UK's FCA Continues Clampdown on Unauthorized Exchanges

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The UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is continuing its probe into the activities of unauthorized cryptocurrency firms.

According to information received to a freedom of information request by The Sunday Telegraph, the FCA had opened inquiries into as many as 67 cryptocurrency related inquiries since the middle of November. 49 of these inquiries are now closed, with 39 consumer alerts being issued to companies operating without authorization. The other 10 have received warnings.

Currently, 18 cryptocurrency related lines of inquiry are still under review following the FCA’s statement cautioning the public earlier this year that cryptocurrency CFDs such as the popular options offered by eToro, were “extremely high-risk, speculative products”. Companies dealing in cryptocurrency related investments in the UK still require rubber-stamping by the FCA before a license to operate is issued.

The FCA has declined to comment on the investigation into the remaining 18 cases. The UK regulator has already revealed its intention to be tough on the cryptocurrency market since digital money is a part of the financial market and subject to the same level of scrutiny. There is already a discussion on banning specific crypto financial instruments, such as Bitcoin futures.

FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard cited “integrity issues” as a reason for also considering placing a ban on cryptocurrency derivatives in an event in London on the 20th of November.

The focus, according to Woolard, would be on what the FCA has called “cryptocurrency contracts-for-difference (CFDs)” which would likely cover “options, futures and transferable securities,” with concerns that “retail consumers are being sold complex, volatile and often leveraged derivatives products based on exchange tokens with underlying market integrity issues”.

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