Barclays clients in the UK can no longer transfer funds to Binance after the bank indefinitely banned credit and debit card transactions to the exchange, according to recent reports. The apparent ban comes roughly two weeks after the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated that Binance Markets Limited, the firm’s UK operations, was not holding proper authorization to carry out crypto operations in the country.
Binance & The FCA: Where It All Stands
The Barclays UK Help Twitter page is routinely replying to frustrated consumers with copy-and-paste language stating: “It’s our responsibility to help protect your money. With this in mind we’ve taken the decision to stop payments made by credit/debit card to Binance until further notice, to help keep your money safe.” The account also directs users to the FCA homepage for more information.
The exchange had been ordered by the FCA in recent weeks to stop crypto regulated activity in the country no later than June 30; while generic crypto-assets are unregulated, surrounding trading products such as futures and options are regulated in the UK.
The FCA is a watchdog that is a financial regulatory body, but also independent from the UK government. As part of broader statement, the FCA also showed broad concern around crypto exchanges at large; the watchdog gave exchanges six weeks from the public letter issue date to remind customers how their money is protected and to send clear messaging that regulatory protection does not apply to them. Accordingly, a number of exchanges, such as Coinbase and Uphold, have issued releases to their UK clients.
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It’s difficult to pinpoint next steps for Binance both in the UK and globally. The UK joins a growing list of countries that have been probing or investigating Binance, including the US, Japan, Thailand, and Canada. The firm has also had it’s headquarters move around substantially, before finally concluding that it is a “decentralized” company with no corporate headquarters.
The FCA has only approved five crypto companies to date, and while Binance had applied within the past year to join that list, the company reportedly pulled their own application after “intensive engagement” from the FCA. Binance has responded to the FCA expressing disappointment in the watchdog’s decision, stating the compliance and regulations continue to be a focal point for the firm, and noting that Binance and Binance Markets Limited are separate legal entities.
The global exchange could likely face increased pressure from traditional UK institutions, but it remains to be seen what the long-term, lasting impact that regulatory scrutiny – in the UK and beyond – will do to impact Binance’s broader operations.
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