Wirex resumes UK signups after consultation with FCA

Payment and crypto wallet provider Wirex today said it will resume its operation in the UK, nearly three months after it threw in the towel on getting approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).


Wirex is back to serve British customers following discussions with the UK regulator, it said in a blog post.

London-based cryptocurrency and fintech firm had been part of the FCA’s temporary register. Although this status allows it to operate in the UK while awaiting a final decision from the watchdog, it abruptly halted UK signups in March. The decision to temporarily stop onboarding Britons was apparently voluntary.

However, Wirex, which claims to have 250,000 UK customers, didn’t withdraw its application altogether following consultation with the jurisdictional regulator.

The company offers a mechanism to spend, receive and purchase cryptocurrency via a prepaid debit card. The platform currently supports over 50 altcoins which can be readily converted to euros, dollars, and pounds at point-of-sale via an in-app API.

Earlier in 2019, Wirex secured an E-money License from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, which allows the Fintech firm to freely operate in 23 countries from the European Union.

Only 32 cryptocurrency-related companies are currently registered with Britain’s financial regulator. However, there are dozens of other crypto firms registered under the Temporary Registration Regime list. Uphold itself was listed on the FCA’s temporary crypto-asset business register.

UK tightens grip on crypto

Since January 2020, the City watchdog has become the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing supervisor of UK’s crypto asset firms. At the time, the FCA kicked off a registration scheme for crypto-asset firms with an initial deadline of one year.

However, nearly 70 crypto businesses had withdrawn earlier submitted filings for registration as the country tightens its regulation on the space. By retracting their applications, these firms had to cease operation in the UK, though more than 200 firms are still being assessed by the FCA.

Meanwhile, the UK Government plans to toughen up rules on crypto advertising that could be considered misleading. The Exchequer is proposing to bring the promotion of crypto-assets into the scope of the FCA’s existing oversight, rather than creating a new framework specifically for these products.

Citing concern over investor protection, the HM Treasury said that even companies that sell regulated investments with an underlying cryptocurrency element might need FCA authorization to do so depending on their activities.

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