Britain bans cryptocurrency exchange Binance from operating in the UK without 'written consent'

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Britain bans cryptocurrency exchange Binance from operating in the UK without 'written consent'
Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
  • Britain's financial regulator has ordered Binance to stop all regulated activity in the UK.
  • The watchdog also issued a warning to potential crypto investors, telling them to be "wary" of promises of big returns.
  • Binance's CEO has previously said the company is "very regulated."

Britain's financial watchdog warned that cryptocurrency exchange Binance is not permitted to be operating in the UK without its express approval.

The Financial Conduct Authority, the regulator for some 60,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK, said Saturday that "Binance Markets Limited is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA."

Binance Markets Limited is part of the wider Binance Group, operating the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

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The watchdog also issued a warning to potential crypto investors. "Be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in cryptoasset or cryptoasset-related products," it advised.

"While we don't regulate cryptoassets like Bitcoin or Ether, we do regulate certain cryptoasset derivatives (such as futures contracts, contracts for difference and options), as well as those cryptoassets we would consider 'securities,'" the FCA statement said. "A firm must be authorised by us to advertise or sell these products in the UK."

In an email to Insider, Binance said "We are aware of recent reports about an FCA UK notice in relation to Binance Markets Limited (BML). BML is a separate legal entity and does not offer any products or services via the Binance.com website."

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"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," the statement said.

The ban in Britain comes a day after Japan's financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency, warned that Binance is not registered to do business in that country.

Earlier this year, Germany's financial watchdog, BaFin warned the company may have breached securities trading rules after it allowed non-US users to trade tokenized versions of some US stocks, including Tesla, Coinbase, and MicroStrategy.

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Binance, which does not have a single location for its headquarters, typically allows users to trade crypto derivatives - including futures and options. But as retail traders warmed up to round-the-clock stock trading in the past year, the exchange offered investors the option to trade fractions of shares using a German broker as an intermediary, according to the Financial Times.

CEO Changpeng Zhao has previously said in a Bloomberg interview the company is "very regulated."

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