The UK Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, has announced that it has 50 active investigations as part of its efforts to crack down on unregistered crypto businesses.

The UK financial authority is keeping a close eye on unregistered crypto firms and has reviewed more than 300 cases of potential crypto frauds. This is how the authority announced it in a statement dated March 3, announcing that its officials have opened hundreds of cases about companies suspected of non-compliance.

According to the statement, the regulatory agency received 16,400 inquiries about possible swindles during April and September 2021, of which three hundred possibly related to cryptocurrencies. The number of inquiries represents nearly a third more than during the same period in 2020, the FCA said.

FCA investigates Unregistered Crypto Companies

The financial watchdog reported that it has fifty ongoing investigations, including “criminal investigations” into companies that handle digital assets and have not registered with them. The cases became active investigations after the FCA received thousands of complaints about possible frauds, the regulator said.

“The main types of scams reported to the FCA included crypto-asset scams, boiler rooms, and recovery rooms,” reads the body’s consumer investment data review statement. The FCA also added in a separate entry detailing the data that the complaints brought about an increase in crypto fraud reports.

According to a previous report by The Block, businesses had to register or go out of business by January 2021, a date revised to March 31, 2022. Last year, in an effort to strengthen these measures, the agency created a list of unregistered cryptoactive companies with the aim of penalizing them.

As part of the latest investigations, the regulator said it has added more than 100 businesses to its list. “During the same period, we added 172 companies to our list of unregistered crypto asset companies,” the FCA reported on Thursday, March 3.

Heavy Hand for the Cryptocurrency Sector

On Twitter, the FCA stated that they are, “taking a more assertive approach to tackling harm in the consumer investments market, including stopping a quarter of new firms from entering the market.”

Currently, there are 33 cryptocurrency companies registered with the FCA, according to data cited by CoinDesk. The agency has also approved temporary registrations for twenty-two companies in the sector, effective on March 2.

In January this year, the financial watchdog opened consultations on proposals, which included the application of its financial promotion rules for “high-risk investments, including crypto assets.” The group will accept comments until March 23.

Crypto exchanges and companies that provide crypto-related services must register with the FCA in order to trade for UK-based users. Cointelegraph reported that as of Feb. 23, 32 companies had received approval as registered crypto asset service providers in the country out of the roughly 200 that applied. This year, the regulatory group granted crypto licenses to the UK subsidiaries of Uphold and eToro, as well as Light Technology.

UK regulators have taken increasingly strong measures to regulate the growing cryptocurrency sector. Earlier this year, the FCA issued a draft aimed at strengthening its rules on how users trade high-risk financial products, including crypto. The rules essentially limit the promotion of cryptocurrency products, as The Block picked up.

In general, English regulators have been paying close attention to advertisements about crypto projects, and have even banned various campaigns from exchanges and other companies in the crypto space. The FCA also announced last year that it will spend just over half a million dollars to train staff to detect illicit activity related to Bitcoin.

By Audy Castaneda


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