Cryptocurrency giant, Binance, has ceased accepting new customers from the United Kingdom amid an intensified crackdown on crypto ads by the country's financial watchdog.
In an official blog post, Binance noted that it will place temporary restrictions on its platform for UK customers. As part of the restrictions, the crypto exchange will no longer allow new users to access its services, effective 5 p.m. UK time on Monday, October 16.
Existing users will continue to use current services as long as they have completed their "Investor Declaration and Appropriateness Test. However, they will not be allowed to access any new products or services during this period.
UK Tightens Rules on Crypto Promotions
Binance's latest move comes shortly after the UK government enforced its Financial Promotions Regime, which seeks to regulate crypto promotions in the country.
Under the new rules, which came into effect on October 8, all crypto firms promoting their services to UK customers must be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The new advertising rules applied not only to UK-based crypto firms but also to overseas firms servicing UK customers. The FCA noted that failure to comply with the new rules will result in an unlimited fine and a jail term of up to two years.
The FCA has already issued over 150 alerts on its expanded list of firms disseminating unauthorised crypto promotions within the first week of the new advertising rules.
Alternatively, crypto firms that have not been approved by the FCA can enlist authorised firms to continue servicing their UK customers. Binance took this approach as it announced its partnership with the peer-to-peer lending platform Rebuildingsociety.com Ltd (REBS) on October 8, ahead of the new rules coming into effect, to review and approve its UK crypto promotions.
Unfortunately, the partnership lasted just two days as the FCA imposed legally binding requirements on REBS on October 10, stating that the firm was not authorised to approve crypto ads. The FCA mandated REBS to withdraw all existing promotions, as well as pending approvals of crypto ads, including Binance.
Binance Continues Working to Enter the UK Market
With the latest restrictions taking effect, Binance reassured users that it is working to minimise any potential harm caused by the new developments as it continues to search for another authorised firm to approve its ads.
The exchange said in the blog post, "We are working closely with the FCA to ensure that our users are not harmed by these developments and are looking to find another suitable FCA-authorised firm to approve our financial promotions as soon as possible."
Earlier in May Binance revealed that it is looking to obtain authorisation in the UK as it works to mend its relationship with the country's financial regulators, especially as the regulatory landscape in the US becomes increasingly unfavourable for crypto firms.