The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a temporary program for registering crypto companies that are waiting to obtain approval permits. The move from the financial regulator will enable a large number of crypto businesses to continue their operations beyond the January 10, 2021, deadline for registrations until at least July 9 of next year.
In a statement, the FCA explained,
“The FCA was not able to assess and register all firms that have applied for registration, due to the complexity and standard of the applications received, and the pandemic restricting the FCA’s ability to visit firms as planned.”
The temporary scheme is designed for companies that were already active in the UK crypto industry before January 10 this year, when the FCA was appointed as the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing supervisor for the sector.
New companies that started operating after that date are obliged to secure full registration with the FCA before they can start offer their services to UK-based individuals. The requirements result were outlined in the country’s Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) regulations, published in 2017.
The FCA says that any crypto businesses that did not submit their applications by December 15 will not be eligible for the temporary registration scheme – and, as such, will be required to return cryptoasset holdings to customers and cease trading by January 10.
The regulator warned,
“Firms that do not stop trading by that date are at risk of being subject to the FCA’s criminal and civil enforcement powers.”
As of December 16, only four companies have so far been included on the FCA register.
These include two companies affiliated with the Winklevoss brothers’ Gemini crypto exchange, as well as the crypto platform Ziglu and the digital securities exchange Archax.
However, the temporary register has a far higher number of crypto industry players, with 91 entries.
Some of the bigger-name companies on the temporary list include the crypto exchange Bitstamp, the Revolut platform and the payments processor Skrill.
The regulator’s decision is likely to bring relief to scores of crypto industry players who are still waiting to receive registration from the UK authorities.
These include Jeff Hancock, the Co-Founder and CEO of crypto platform Coinpass, who headed over to the FCA’s Twitter account to personally thank the regulator for adding his business to the list.
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