Bitstamp, Interactive Brokers gain UK crypto register approvals

Quick Take

  • Bitstamp and Interactive Brokers are the first additions to the UK crypto register in six months.
  • The firms join 40 other crypto asset firms approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), including Gemini, Kraken and eToro.

Bitstamp, one of the oldest crypto exchanges, has received regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate in the UK.

The approval, granted on June 13, makes Bitstamp UK Limited the latest addition to the FCA's crypto register and comes just a day after broker/dealer trading company Interactive Brokers (UK) secured approval. 

Notably, the FCA had not approved any crypto asset firms since Hidden Road’s registration in December, making these recent approvals the first in six months, joining companies such as TP ICAP, Revolut, Gemini, Kraken and eToro. 

Easing crypto regulations

Operating in the UK requires crypto firms to meet the FCA's anti-money laundering checks. The UK government has been promoting London as a hub for cryptocurrencies, but the regulatory approval process has been criticized for its slow pace and conservative approach. 

The FCA began applications for registration under its money-laundering rules in January 2020. However, many struggled to meet the regulator’s criteria by a deadline of March 31, 2022, and only 42 crypto firms have been successfully registered to date, causing frustration within the digital assets community. 

However, the regulatory landscape could soon gain greater clarity as the UK’s Financial Services and Markets Bill, currently making its way through parliament, is set to lay the legislative foundations to bring stablecoins and crypto assets into financial services regulation, furthering the FCA’s powers.

“The achievement acknowledges Bitstamp for our constant and unwavering commitment to operating at the highest standard. It additionally confirms that our platform offers compliant and secure access to cryptocurrencies in the UK, in accordance with the strict requirements set forth by the FCA,” Bitstamp said in a blog post.

Bitstamp and Interactive Brokers join a growing number of firms, including a16z, interested in establishing a UK presence and operating within a more favorable regulatory environment for crypto companies compared to recent enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S. market.

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