FCA exposes unregistered trading firm as 199 new firms receive licenses

United Kingdom’s financial watchdog has issued a public warning against an unregistered firm that has been offering trading services in digital currencies. The platform known as Dalsari also offers trading in indices, stocks and commodities.

In its warning, the Financial Conduct Authority stated, “We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation.” The regulator urged the public “to be especially wary of dealing with this unauthorised firm.”

Dalsari claims to be based in London, promising users safety, stability and consistency. On its website, the company said it onboards 422 users daily and has 1.2 million users in total. Its users can trade the top digital currencies, including BSV, Ether, BTC and Litecoin. They can also trade gold and top stocks including Apple and Alphabet. The minimum deposit for a standard account is €250.

The watchdog reminded investors that they should check whether a firm has an FCA license before they invest. Additionally, they must report all fraudulent firms to the FCA to enable the regulator to take enforcement action.

The latest warning comes as a new report revealed that 199 digital currency firms received an FCA license last year. As per the Business Insider report, these included digital currency ATM operators and exchanges. They ranged from giants like Fidelity and Revolut to smaller local firms.

Jonathan Rowland, CEO of London digital currency startup Mode, believes that the figures reflect a surge in digital currency interest. There has been a high demand for digital currencies from U.K. residents, he told the outlet. He added that the U.K. is in a great position to take advantage of the current digital currency boom.

The FCA has granted 102 companies a temporary approval. It has so far only fully approved three firms to offer digital currency services—Ziglu, Gemini and Archax.

The regulator has also cracked down on digital currency scams in the past year with zeal. According to London law firm RPC, it opened 52 investigations into digital currency firms last year. However, this may have been down to lack of resources, the law firm believes.

Sam Tate, a partner at the firm told IFA Magazine that there are many more criminal cases in the industry, but the FCA doesn’t have the resources to deal with them all.

“If the FCA has hit saturation point now and can only deal with 50-60 cryptocurrency cases a year, how many cases will have not been investigated after the current cryptocurrency frenzy subsides. The Treasury needs to ensure that the FCA is able to keep up with that explosion of activity – be it mis-selling, pressure selling or outright fraud.”

Tate further pointed out that digital currencies are no longer limited to the young and tech-savvy investors. Older investors are getting into the craze as well and this group is at a higher risk of losing money. The FCA’s research showed that 22% of U.K digital currency investors are above 55, up from 7% the previous year. More worryingly, it found that 11% of investors falsely believe that they are protected from loss if their digital currencies crash.

See also: CoinGeek Live panel, Digital Currency & Global Compliance: Tools & Tips for Exchanges, Wallets & Other Service Providers

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