Wallet firm Wirex pauses new user sign-ups amid crypto register delay

London-based fintech firm Wirex has temporarily halted signing up new customers in the United Kingdom following a “constructive dialogue” with the Financial Conduct Authority, the regulator.

“The FCA have, in dialogue with us, made suggestions on how we can implement changes to our operational procedures, which we welcome and intend to follow,” said Wirex’s co-founder and CEO Pavel Matveev. “We believe London is the capital of fintech and the FCA’s recommendations will help us create a stable environment to operate in.”

The pause in new sign-ups will be effective from March 24. Matveev told The Block that any U.K. residents who sign up from March 24 onwards will be placed on a waiting list.

Wirex, which allows some 3.5 million users globally to hold and spend both fiat and crypto, said in a press release that the decision to pause new sign-ups was voluntary. The startup aims to strengthen its compliance protocols, bringing them into line with the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD).

The FCA began overseeing crypto firms’ adherence to 5AMLD rules in January 2020, at which time it rolled out a crypto-assets register.

The watchdog initially told crypto firms they had one year to get fully registered, but was later forced to roll out a temporary register after failing to process a flood of applications. To this day, there are still just four entities fully registered – a state of affairs which recently prompted CryptoUK, the trade body, to call on chancellor Rishi Sunak to intervene.