On October 25, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a new webpage setting out important information for UK cryptoasset businesses in the context of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CFT).

As announced in July 2019, the FCA will be the AML/CFT regulator for certain cryptoasset activities starting January 10, 2020. However, the scope of ‘cryptoasset activities’ is still to be determined by Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT), whose consultation on the matter closed on June 10. The final report has not yet been published but the activities in the consultation paper included:

  • cryptoasset exchange providers;
  • cryptoasset ATMs;
  • custodian wallet providers;
  • peer to peer providers who facilitate the exchange of fiat currencies and cryptoassets; and
  • issuers of new cryptoassets e.g. ICOs.

As a result, all existing UK businesses in scope of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs) who currently conduct any of such cryptoasset activities must be registered with the FCA by January 20, 2021 in order to continue trading. The application deadline will be October 10, 2020. Any UK cryptoasset businesses that intend to conduct relevant cryptoasset activity after January 20, 2020 will have to wait until they are registered before they can start.

In addition, from January 10, 2020, UK businesses involved in these cryptoasset activities must comply with the MLRs. This is regardless of the registration status of the business. The FCA has supervisory and enforcement powers under the MLRs and these will be available for use by the FCA from January 10, 2020.

The new webpage is available here.