The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and its new chair, Ashley Alder, have said that future rules ought to treat cryptocurrencies in a similar manner to risky investments in mainstream finance.
This comes ahead of plans to regulate crypto under an upcoming financial services law, which may add clarity to the sector or make it harder to operate.
The FCA has also reminded companies to get ready for the new financial promotions regime.
Alder insists that this is the correct path forward. He said introducing the same laws to crypto as apply to mainstream finance will have a transformative impact on the industry.
“It would need to adapt and effectively detoxify”, Adler explained, that is if crypto companies want to be a part of the new regime, but the numbers do not look encouraging.
Some 85% of all companies that have applied to the FCA to be registered under the country’s crypto regulation have not been cleared.
The FCA most often cites serious failures in the way that such companies conduct anti-money laundering checks and verify the source of funds. Alder said this not as just the regulator being too tough.
He insisted that many companies were obscure or evasive in their submission and not providing the full information required of them.
New plans to introduce stricter – clearer – rules come on the heels of the collapse of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange that went belly up after it transpired that it had misused up to $8bn of customer funds.
Not everyone is sure Adler’s plan is the best way to move forward. For example, Adler’s predecessor, Charles Randell, feared that bringing crypto into the mainstream would make crypto traders entitled to claim compensation on lost investments, which would be bankrolled by taxpayers.
In the meantime, the FCA has been keeping working with police to shut down illegal crypto ATMs in the UK.
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