Crypto Regulation in the UK: Bybit Considers Withdrawal Amid Stricter Oversight

Bybit_MT43_1648727129bzakd0qyye Bybit UK

The United Kingdom is on the cusp of introducing stringent marketing regulations. A primary target? The flourishing world of cryptocurrency exchanges, with Bybit potentially being one of the significant players rethinking its stance in the market.

The Potential Exodus of Crypto Exchanges like Bybit

Ben Zhou, CEO of Bybit, foresees a challenging operational landscape in the UK for crypto enterprises. With English being a predominant business language, the new regulations may inadvertently penalize firms for simple linguistic choices. Zhou comments, “The stricter regulatory environment suggests we may have to reconsider our position in various countries,” highlighting the UK as a prime example.

In preparation for the impending regulations, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has engaged with several crypto exchanges. This includes industry leaders such as Binance and OKX, aiming to clarify the new law’s implications. Until October 8, “reverse solicitation” remains permissible. This allows firms to cater to UK clients if the latter initiates the interaction. However, the impending changes are more complex and restrictive.

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Zhou observes, “Using English could be perceived as an attempt to engage UK users, making claims of reverse solicitation untenable.” The prevailing sentiment? Anxiety. As Zhou puts it, “The entire industry is grappling, seeking strategies to navigate these changes.”

Strict Adherence and Consequences 

Crypto companies must tread carefully. The law mandates pre-approval for any promotional activities. Moreover, it prohibits offers that might unfairly lure investments. Non-compliance could be costly. Erring entities might face astronomical fines or even two years of incarceration.

For Bybit’s Zhou, the path seems clear: exit the UK market. Reflecting on recent decisions, he adds, “We’ve already made such a move in France.”

Earlier this year, the UK ratified the Financial Services and Markets Bill. This landmark decision brings cryptocurrencies and stablecoins under the FCA’s oversight. Rishi Sunak, the UK’s Prime Minister, envisions the nation as a global digital asset nexus.

However, the stringent regulations present hurdles. They might deter US-based crypto enterprises, like Coinbase, from seeking refuge from their home’s challenging regulatory milieu. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s CEO, has hinted at exploring relocation options should legal clarity on crypto remain elusive stateside.

The Bigger Picture: SEC’s Actions

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hasn’t been passive. It has initiated legal actions against heavyweights such as Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance, alleging violations of securities regulations.

Companies are at a crossroads as the UK tightens its regulatory grip on the crypto industry. While the goal is clear – establishing a secure and transparent digital asset market – the journey is fraught with challenges, redefining the industry’s future trajectory.

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