Crypto exchange Bitstamp won authorisation from the UK’s financial watchdog today and has doubled down on investment in Britain despite a looming clampdown from regulators.
Bitstamp, the world’s oldest crypto exchange, said today it had got the green light from the the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate as a licensed crypto exchange, making it the 42nd firm to win the seal of approval in the UK.
Crypto firms are currently only regulated on money laundering and terrorist financing grounds in the UK but ministers are poised to shift greater powers into the hands of regulators to clamp down on the sector.
The FCA unveiled a raft of new rules on crypto marketing this month to draw up firmer guardrails for consumers. The measures include forcing firms to introduce a “cooling off” period when placing trades for the first time.
Jean-Baptiste Graftieaux, boss of Bitstamp, told City A.M. the firm backed “improvements in regulation which provide a level playing field for the crypto industry” and did not think the rules would hamper investment in the UK.
“We do not believe there will be a material impact on the trend of crypto investment in the UK,” he added. “The effect of the regulations will largely be on first time investors who want to invest large sums very quickly and we do not believe this represents a large amount of activity within the market.”
He added that the rule could provide “valuable breathing space” for firms to engage with first-time crypto investors and would ensure they “are investing the right level of funds in assets which are appropriate for their risk profile”.
The authorisation for Bitstamp is the first since the Treasury launched a consultation on the regulation of crypto assets earlier this year.
The licensing approach has been a controversial one in the crypto sector. Some firms, including Chancellor Philip Hammond’s crypto exchange Copper, have swapped their operation overseas because they failed to win approvals.