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The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, the country’s markets watchdog and financial regulator, has confirmed that there are 24 investigations pending of cryptocurrency businesses, according to Citywire.
The FCA, in response to a Freedom of Information query, acknowledged that seven whistleblower reports were pending with regard to cryptocurrency operations thus far this year.
The regulator said it was inquiring into the operations of 24 unauthorized enterprises active in cryptocurrencies, and is attempting to assess if they are engaged in regulated activities without proper authorization.
Regulatory Action Possible
Should the FCA determine that this is the case, the agency could initiate action against them. The regulator would identify which activities pose the most risk to consumers.
John Griffith-Jones, the outgoing agency chairman, said in March that cryptocurrencies, left unregulated, would harm consumers. The agency could advise consumers on its website about certain firms, activities or individuals, and it could initiate a civil action to freeze assets and halt operations.
The agency may also initiative insolvency proceedings as well as criminal prosecutions.
Also read: UK watchdog to publish its review on cryptocurrencies later this year
FCA Clarifies Regulatory Scope
The FCA cited cryptocurrencies as a topic of growing interest for regulators and markets globally when it revealed its business plan. Certain models of cryptocurrency usage place them under the FCA’s sphere of regulatory authority, the agency stated, while at the same time acknowledged cryptocurrencies are not directly under its authority.
The FCA said it will present its views about cryptocurrencies later in the year.
In April, the agency required businesses that offer cryptocurrency derivatives to meet authorization requirements, and added that not doing so would constitute a criminal offense. Not all crypto assets fall under the FCA’s regulatory sphere, the FCA noted.
The current inquiries are not part of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Bank of England’s review of cryptocurrencies that the FCA announced in is 2018-2019 business plan.
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