U.K. Crypto Firms Can Apply for 3-Month Reprieve to Comply With Tough New Ad Rules

Bans on aggressive marketing were set to take effect in October, but companies can apply to delay some aspects until January.

AccessTimeIconSep 7, 2023 at 3:18 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 7, 2023 at 3:37 p.m. UTC
  • U.K. restrictions on crypto promotions are set to take effect in October.
  • Firms could apply for extra time until January to make technical changes, though the Financial Conduct Authority still intends to take enforcement action against overseas or unregulated firms.

U.K. crypto firms could be given an extra three months to implement rules intended to curb aggressive marketing, the country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Thursday.

The new regulations were set to take effect on Oct. 8, including bans on incentives deemed inappropriate – but that can be delayed until January 2024 for otherwise compliant firms to develop the right technical set-up, the FCA said.

“Firms must first apply for the flexibility which would then allow them time to make the required back-office changes successfully,” the regulator said, adding that it still intends to take enforcement action against overseas or unregulated firms that continue to unlawfully market to U.K. consumer starting Oct. 8.

The FCA’s rules require crypto ads – potentially including influencer promotions or memes – to be clear and fair, and companies can’t offer bonuses for referring friends, free airdrops, on a par with other financial products the regulator deems as high risk.

Industry representatives have warned the heavy-handed measures could drive business out of the country, in spite of a stated ambition by the government to turn the U.K. into a crypto hub.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.