The UK’s finance watchdog has banned major cryptocurrency exchange Binance from regulated trading in Britain, as the industry faces greater global scrutiny.
Binance Markets Limited, part of Binance Group, is “not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK”, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in a statement published over the weekend.
The ban affects options and futures contracts related to bets on price movements of cryptocurrencies.
However purchases of cryptocurrency units, such as of bitcoin and dogecoin, can continue since they are not regarded as financial products and are therefore not regulated.
Binance Group tweeted that the FCA move would have “no direct impact”.
Founded in China four years ago, Binance is one of the world’s two biggest crypto exchanges along with Coinbase in the United States.
Cryptocurrencies have long sparked concern among central banks and regulators alike, because of their lack of oversight.
The FCA has meanwhile warned consumers once more not to be lured by promises of high returns.
Bitcoin traders shrugged off the weekend developments, sending the virtual unit up 5.47 percent to $33,981 in Monday deals.
The unit has however slumped in recent weeks after China launched a crackdown on the industry.
Bitcoin had hit a record near $65,000 in April on the back of runaway demand.
Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at stockbroker AJ Bell, said that tighter regulation was a consequence of this boom.
“Cryptocurrency is a victim of its own success because regulators across the globe are increasingly turning their beady eyes on crypto assets — and companies like Binance that offer crypto services to consumers.
“This isn’t a step change in regulation which is going to knock the crypto craze on the head, but it is part of a growing trend of regulatory intervention in crypto markets.”