Protecting Crypto Users Is More Important Than Faster UK Registration: FCA Executive

Members of the industry have said the regulator takes too long to approve crypto applications.

AccessTimeIconApr 18, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 18, 2024 at 3:03 p.m. UTC
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  • The U.K.'s FCA says it will prioritize trust over speed when it comes to crypto registrations.
  • The industry have said the FCA takes too long to approve crypto applications. The regulator has only approved 45 firms in four years.

The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) won't compromise a focus on trust just to more quickly register crypto companies, an executive from the national regulator said Thursday.

"A simple focus on numbers could undermine trust and reputation," said Sarah Pritchard, the FCA's executive director for markets and international at TheCityUK conference, in response to industry complaints that the regulator takes far too long to register crypto companies.

The FCA, which is the country's main crypto regulator, has been processing registrations for crypto firms wishing to operate in the country and comply with its money laundering rules since 2020. Over 300 firms have tried to win approval by the regulator since the regime opened, of which only 45 firms have succeeded.

Companies like crypto exchange Gemini, payments platform Revolut and asset manager Fidelity Digital Assets have landed on the register. But the process can take a while.

Participants in the crypto industry told CoinDesk last year that it took over a year for the FCA to get back to them regarding their registration application. In her remarks Thursday, Pritchard said speeding up its process may look better, but could ultimately harm consumers.

"Lower standards could leave open our market to abuse by those who seek to launder criminally made cash, damaging market integrity and confidence in financial markets," Pritchard said. "Instead, we take a longer view. Crypto’s success – and the success of any base for crypto firms – relies on trust being built and maintained."

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.

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