Binance, the world's biggest crypto-currency exchange, has been banned by the UK's financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company was told by the FCA to stop 'any regulated activity' in the UK.
The FCA also issued a consumer warning about Binance.com, advising people to be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in cryptoasset or cryptoasset-related products.
Binance said the FCA notice would have no "direct impact" on the services it provides from its website Binance.com.
The FCA has required all firms offering cryptocurrency-related services to register since January and show they comply with anti-money laundering rules. Binance has not registered with the FCA and therefore is not allowed to operate an exchange in the UK.
“Due to the imposition of requirements by the FCA, Binance Markets Limited is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA.
“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.
Scrutiny of Binance
Binance has already had issues in other countries. In Germany, this past April, financial regulators warned Binance that it would incur fines for offering digital tokens that track publicly traded companies like Microsoft and Apple. Binance was selling these tokens without publishing an investor prospectus, as required by law—a violation that could invite a penalty of 5 million euros ($6 million).
Last month, Bloomberg reported that US officials who probe money laundering and tax offences had sought information from individuals with insight into Binance's business.
Most recently, Binance announced it was pulling out of Ontario, Canada, after the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) accused it and several other crypto trading platforms of failing to comply with province regulations. This past week also, Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) warned Binance for the second time in three years that it is operating in the country without permission.
Regulators globally are taking a greater interest in cryptocurrencies and products linked to them. They are cracking down on cryptoassets amid fears they contribute to fraud and money laundering, and are also concerned that investors are at risk of big losses.