Crypto Exchange FTX Not Authorized in UK, Financial Watchdog Warns

However, FTX told Bloomberg it believes a scammer is impersonating the company.

AccessTimeIconSep 19, 2022 at 11:01 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:44 p.m. UTC
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Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is not authorized to provide services to customers in the U.K., according to the country's financial watchdog.

"We believe this firm may be providing financial services or products in the U.K. without our authorization," the Financial Conduct Authority said in an official notice on Friday.

However, an FTX spokesperson told Bloomberg it believes a scammer is impersonating the company. The spokesperson noted that the phone numbers listed by the FCA do not belong to FTX and are associated with a crypto scam. It said FTX is looking into the matter.

Following the publication of this article, Sam Bankman-Friend, the CEO of FTX, also tweeted a scammer is impersonating FTX in the U.K. by phone.

As of Sept. 22, the FCA had updated its warning to exclude the phone numbers believed to be tied to scammers, but the regulator's warning still targets FTX and links to its main website.

The multibillion-dollar crypto trading platform owned by Bankman-Fried has risen to prominence in the last few months, particularly because of its role in attempting to bail out large crypto firms that crashed during the market downturn earlier this year. FTX is now marked as an "unauthorized firm" in the FCA's registry for financial services.

Companies and individuals "offering, promoting or selling financial services or products" in the U.K. have to be authorized by and registered with the FCA, the notice said, adding that FTX was targeting U.K. customers without the required authorization.

Customers engaging with unauthorized firms cannot access the the Financial Ombudsman Service that settles disputes between companies and individuals, the FCA said. It also said that customers are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning they are "unlikely" to recover their funds if things go wrong.

CoinDesk has reached out to FTX for comment.

UPDATE (Sept. 19, 14:13 UTC): Added FTX spokesperson's comment via Bloomberg.

UPDATE (Sept. 19, 15:08 UTC): Adds tweet from FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

UPDATE (Sept. 22, 10:31 UTC): Adds update to FCA warning in fifth paragraph.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.

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