Bitstamp has become the latest digital currency exchange to be registered in the United Kingdom amid a brewing regulatory crackdown on erring firms.
In a statement, Bitstamp confirmed its new registration status with the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after complying with anti-money laundering rules. The new license will allow Bitstamp to offer retail and institutional investors digital currency-related services under the FCA’s supervision.
Firms are precluded from operating in U.K.’s digital currency space unless they seek registration with the FCA or obtain a temporary status to operate.
“We are proud to be one of a small number of crypto exchanges that have been recognized by the FCA in the U.K.,” the statement read. “The achievement acknowledges Bitstamp for our constant and unwavering commitment to operating at the highest standard.”
Under the license, Bitstamp will offer users custodial services, trading of digital currencies against other digital currencies, and trading assets in legal tender. Bitstamp’s license is the first in nearly six months issued by the FCA after the regulator registered the services of MoonPay and Hidden Road in December 2022.
The new registration brings the total number of licensed firms by the FCA to 42 as the agency doubles down on cracking down on bad actors. Several firms, including Binance and BTC ATM operators, have come within the FCA’s regulatory crosshairs for failing to register their operations with the commission.
The U.K. registration brings the number of Bitstamp’s global licenses to 52, positioning it “as one of the most secure and compliant crypto exchanges,” according to the platform. According to CryptoCompare’s latest Exchange Benchmark in April, Bitstamp occupied the top spot for the second time in a row, receiving an AA rating along the way.
“As the crypto industry continues to evolve, regulatory compliance and security remain crucial for market participants and the overall stability of the crypto ecosystem,” Bitstamp said.
Brewing regulatory thunderstorms
Stakeholders in U.K.’s digital currency space are steeling themselves for sweeping regulatory reform in the coming months. In February, His Majesty’s Treasury published a consultation paper seeking public opinion over the direction of digital currency regulation in the country.
However, experts believe the incoming legal regime will fall under the purview of the existing Financial Services and Markets Act, bringing the industry to par with traditional finance. The incoming framework is widely expected to clarify the status of algorithmic stablecoins, initial coin offerings (ICO), and non-fungible tokens (NFT).
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