Crypto giant Binance ordered to cease activity in the UK

28 Jun 2021

Image: © sharafmaksumov/Stock.adobe.com

The UK’s watchdog warned the public against Binance, marking the third major regulatory pushback on the cryptocurrency exchange in recent days.

Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has been banned in the UK following a warning from the country’s financial regulator.

On Saturday (26 June), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that Binance Markets Limited is “not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK”.

“No other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK,” the FCA said.

The notice went on to warn the public to be wary of cryptocurrency and digital assets investments.

Binance has until the end of the week to preserve records relating to UK customers. The company also has until Wednesday (30 June) to display a notice on its website saying that Binance Markets Limited is not permitted to undertake regulated activity in the UK.

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Binance was founded in China and has moved its base around in recent years, with headquarters in the Cayman Islands and a previous base in Malta. But there have been some disputes and confusion over where exactly it is headquartered.

Binance Markets Limited, the UK-registered company, is based in London.

In a Twitter thread, Binance said that the FCA notice has “no direct impact” on its services through its main site.

“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously,” it said.

It is the latest case of the exchange meeting hurdles with a regulator. Last Friday, it pulled services in Ontario after the Canadian province’s regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission, received allegations against the exchange that it was not meeting securities regulations.

On the same day, Japan’s Financial Services Agency issued a notice stating that Binance is not cleared or regulated to do business in Japan. A spokesperson for the company told CoinDesk that it does not “actively solicit Japanese users”.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com