LONDON, June 28 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Regulators have gotten their heads around crypto assets. The next challenge is getting their hands on the companies. Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority on Saturday said that Binance Markets, the local arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange, was “not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK”. Shortly after, the company said on Twitter that the notice has “no direct impact on the services offered on Binance.com”.
How can that be? In general, the FCA can only regulate companies that are either based in Britain or that actively promote products there. A bitcoin trading platform registered elsewhere doesn’t necessarily count: according to Fintech Zoom Binance is based in the Cayman Islands. Founder Changpeng Zhao sought regulatory approval for Binance Markets, but its main services are unregulated and offered instead by the parent group. It’s not clear what he did to irk the FCA, or whether his customers will care. What’s obvious, though, is that the watchdog lacks powers to police a fast-growing part of the financial sector. (By Liam Proud)
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Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Karen Kwok
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