A company that provides financial services for cryptocurrency companies including Coinbase, Bitstamp and Galaxy Digital has been awarded a payments license by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
London-based BCB Group announced the news Wednesday, saying its subsidiary, BCB Payments Ltd., is now the “first and only crypto-focused” company to have be registered as an Authorised Payment Institution in the U.K.
With British banks reluctant to engage with crypto firms, BCB is one of few options available. The firm said it takes a “dedicated focus on B2B payment services including business accounts and cryptocurrency market liquidity for some of the world’s largest crypto-engaged financial institutions.”
BCB Payments had been registered with the FCA since June 2018 as a Small Payment Institution, meaning it is not overseen by the regulator. The company told CoinDesk it has now been “upgraded” to an Authorized Payment Institution license, meaning the firm is now regulated by the FCA.
Related company BCB OTC Trading SARL is already regulated in Switzerland by a self-regulatory organization under the oversight of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), according to the announcement.
“This regulatory approval for our firm, a leading crypto-dedicated payment service provider, is a testament to how we’re able to push ahead with digital asset innovation while remaining in full compliance with some of the most stringent regulations in force globally’,” said Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, founder and CEO of BCB Group.
The firm anticipates that the new licence will allow it to attract new international clients in the UK and Switzerland.
The issue with U.K. banks’ aversion to the crypto space came to the fore in July when Coinbase was compelled to pause British pound-denominated transactions after being dropped by Barclays. Services were only reinstated in October after the exchange struck up a new relationship with Clearbank.
As reported at the time, BCB Group is working with ClearBank to make the U.K.’s Faster Payments scheme available to some clients. BCB started providing the service for the Bitstamp exchange in July.