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UK financial watchdog reminds crypto firms of October deadline for marketing compliance

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The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, has announced that all cryptoasset firms marketing to users in the country must be in compliance with its financial promotions regime by October 2023.

In letters dated July 4, the FCA said starting on Oct. 8, companies operating in the U.K. will have only “four routes to lawfully communicate cryptoasset promotions” in order to be in compliance with the financial watchdog’s regime. These legal avenues included having an authorized party approve or communicate a promotion, having a promotion created by a business registered with the FCA, or having a promotion that qualifies as exempt under the U.K.’s Financial Services and Markets Act.

According to the financial watchdog, promotions included “websites, mobile apps, social media posts and online advertising” which were “capable of having an effect in the UK” and not limited to firms based in the country. Jayson Probin, crypto financial promotions lead at the FCA, suggested in a July 4 LinkedIn post that firms’ failure to comply could result in criminal charges.

“We will take robust action against persons illegally promoting to U.K. consumers,” said the FCA notice. “This may include, but it is not limited to, placing firms on our warning list requesting take downs of websites, social media accounts, apps and all other promotions that are in breach, and enforcement action.”

July 4 statement from FCA’s Jayson Probin on marketing compliance. Source: LinkedIn

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The FCA first announced the October deadline on June 8, suggesting crypto firms adopt an approach to marketing that allows customers a “cooling-off period” to consider the risks of investing in digital assets. Once firms submit the required information for registration, the FCA said it could take up to three months to consider an application.

In addition to complying with the regulator’s marketing regime, companies must register with the FCA to “carry out crypto asset activities” in the U.K. At the time of publication, the FCA listed 42 registered crypto firms in compliance with its requirements, including Bitstamp, Revolt, MoonPay, and Galaxy Digital UK.

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