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BitMEX not authorized by us: UK’s financial regulator

BitMEX doesn’t have regulatory approval to offer its bitcoin derivatives products in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned.

The FCA said this via a brief statement published on March 3. The notice states that FCA has information to believe that the Hong Kong-based derivatives firm has targeted UK citizens. The agency posted:

“We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation.”

The warning also cautions the public, urging people to be “wary” as there are so many scammers out there.

BitMEX not in FCA register

According to the FCA statement, companies should promote and offer financial products in the UK only after duly registering with the regulator. But it appears “some firms act without [our] authorisation,” the warning points out.

“Some knowingly run investment scams,” FCA added in the notice.

In the case of BitMEX, the Financial Conduct Authority said:

“This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK.”

According to the financial watchdog, the assessment is “based upon information [it holds].” The statement points to the fact that the bitcoin derivatives platform “is carrying on regulated activities [that] require authorisation.”

A look at FCA’s Financial Services Register shows that BitMEX is not one of the firms registered or authorized to offer financial products in the UK.

As per the regulator, using FCA-registered firms provides consumers with access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. These two services can step in when trading disputes arise or help users recover their money “if things go wrong.”

BitMEX has not released an official statement regarding the FCA warning.

Last November, BitMEX’s bulk email send system malfunctioned, leading to a massive leak of user emails. The platform did, however, affirm that no user data leaked in the incident.

Kraken warning removed

FCA’s warning against BitMEX is similar to that which the regulator retracted a few hours after posting it on its website. The warning made similar comments about U.S.-based crypto exchange Kraken. However, FCA removed it after what appeared like a mistake on the part of the UK regulator.

In January, the FCA announced new cryptocurrency regulatory and compliance measures. Among these measures was FCA taking on a proactive supervisory approach. Top on its list is anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF).

UK tax agency HMRC is also looking to focus on crypto. The agency announced earlier this year that it would use blockchain to track crypto transactions and link them to trading platforms and exchanges.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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