UK watchdog flags possible ban on some crypto-related trading

Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s markets watchdog said on Wednesday it would consult later in the year on a proposed ban on selling derivatives linked to certain types of crypto assets to retail customers.

Crypto assets such as Bitcoin saw rocketing values in recent years only to slump during 2018, triggering regulatory warnings to consumers.

Regulators across the world are working out how, if at all, crypto assets come under existing financial rules and whether new regulation is needed.

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was setting out guidance on the crypto-asset activities that it regulates to help firms understand if they come under the regulatory net.

The guidance categorizes crypto assets such as different types of tokens to say if they come under the FCA’s regulatory net or not. It will hold a public consultation on the guidance.

A firm must obtain a license from the FCA if it is carrying out activity with crypto assets that fall inside the perimeter.

“Later this year the FCA will consult on banning the sale of derivatives linked to certain types of crypto assets to retail investors. The government is planning to consult on whether to expand the regulatory perimeter to include further crypto assets activities,” the FCA said in a statement.

The FCA also said the government would publish a consultation paper in early 2019 on whether to change the law to broaden the watchdog’s remit to include further types of crypto assets.

Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by Iain Withers and Mark Potter

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