U.K. Regulators Surrender to Binance

  • United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority concedes that it is neither able to effectively supervise or discipline Binance 
  • Experience of the U.K. FCA underscores the challenges faced by regulators in policing a novel technology that by design allows it to circumvent national borders, restrictions and oversight
 
You can’t regulate what you can’t supervise, and you can’t supervise what you can’t see.
 
Which is why the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority or FCA announced that it is “not capable” of effectively supervising Binance’s U.K. arm.
 
In a June notice, that attracted little attention at the time, the FCA conceded that it had no ability to oversee, let alone discipline Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges that facilitates hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of transactions every month.
 
According to the FCA notice, Binance’s U.K. affiliate had “failed to” respond to some of its allegedly basic queries, making it impossible to oversee the cryptocurrency juggernaut, which has no fixed headquarters yet offers services globally.
 
The concession by the FCA underscores the challenges facing not just regulators in the U.K., but globally, in tackling potential risks to consumers buying unregulated and complex financial products through agile cryptocurrency businesses, which have the capability of circumventing national banks, and monetary authorities. 
 
Parallel financial systems are hardly new – from offshore private banks to over the counter or OTC trades in derivatives, and complicated mortgage-backed securities and swaps that set the scene for the 2008 Financial Crisis.
 
But because cryptocurrencies by their very nature allow borderless transactions and peer-to-peer transfers of value, authorities have a far harder time spotting illegal active or identifying systemically risky transactions.
 
And despite Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao or CZ’s public declarations to turn Binance into a compliant cryptocurrency exchange, working with regulators globally, the company (if one can call it that) has flipped the bird to the FCA so far.
 
According to the FCA, Binance declined to explain how it is organized, how U.K. residents use its products or even who runs its website.
 
While nominally domiciled in the Cayman Islands, Binance has thousands of employees globally, but no headquarters.
 
When the FCA demanded that Binance should state prominently it cannot undertake regulated business in the United Kingdom, the company buried an innocuous link to this boilerplate declaration somewhere on its homepage.  
 
The FCA’s initial crackdown on Binance in the U.K. sparked off a string of warnings by regulators from Thailand to Japan, seeking to censure the cryptocurrency exchange.
 
But the experience of the FCA should be instructive that even as regulators globally seek wider powers to police the cryptocurrency space, the technology itself may allow users to circumvent that regulation altogether.
 
 

Novum Digital Asset Alpha is a digital asset quantitative trading firm.

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Novum Digital Asset Alpha is a digital asset quantitative trading firm.

Exclusive access to Novum Digital Asset Alpha’s Daily Analysis is made in conjunction with Bitcoin Malaysia.

The information and thoughts laid out in this analysis are strictly for information purposes only and should not be regarded as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation would be in violation of any local laws.

It does not constitute a recommendation or take into account the particular allocation objectives, financial conditions, or needs of specific individuals.

For more information about Novum Digital Asset Alpha, please click on the image below:

Energy Efficient Ethereum? What will they think of next?

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