The United Kingdom’s cryptocurrency landscape is undergoing significant changes as it aligns with the Financial Services and Markets Act. This pivotal development, marking a substantial shift in regulatory approach, aims to apply rigorous standards, akin to those in traditional financial services, to firms operating with cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Gemini have already initiated measures in response to these new regulations. They have introduced risk assessments and finance tests for users in the UK, which include a declaration about their investor profile and a related questionnaire. These steps are critical for compliance with the requirements that demand crypto companies to inform users about the risks associated with trading cryptocurrencies and advertise their services responsibly. Notably, the failure to complete these measures will prevent users from trading with their crypto accounts.
The broader framework for these regulatory changes is set out by the UK Government, intending to balance innovation with financial stability and clear regulatory standards. New specific regulated activities for cryptoassets will be created, paralleling those in traditional financial markets. Consequently, crypto native firms, whose primary business revolves around cryptoassets, will need full authorization and supervision by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Traditional finance firms will also have the opportunity to expand their permissions to include cryptoasset activities.
In addition to the direct impact on firms operating within the UK, these regulations extend their reach to offshore firms providing services to UK clients. These firms will need authorization in the UK, although exceptions like ‘reverse solicitation’ are under consideration. This new regulatory environment encompasses a range of activities including trading, custody, and lending, each with specific requirements. For instance, trading venues must offer fair access rules, transparent fee schedules, and effective conflict of interest management. Cryptoasset intermediation will be regulated akin to the rules for investment firms, emphasizing consumer protection and market abuse detection.
The HM Treasury is also exploring the regulation of decentralized finance (DeFi) and seeking to understand how regulatory outcomes achieved in traditional finance can be applied to DeFi. This includes consideration for cryptoasset investment advice and portfolio management, and how these services align with current regulatory practices.
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This article was originally reported on Blockchain News.