UK Crypto Liquidity Provider Receives Financial Regulator's Approval

Disclaimer: This article has been updated to note that regulated crypto CFDs have previously been available in the U.K.

United Kingdom crypto liquidity startup B2C2 OTC Ltd. has received approval from the country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Wednesday, Jan. 30, according to a record in the FCA’s register.

A separate press release notes that B2C2, which also provides electronic over-the-counter (OTC) trading, can now offer contracts for difference (CFDs) to eligible counterparties and professional clients.

Such licenses are not unique or exclusive to crypto-related companies and allow recipients to offer traditional CFDs, in addition to crypto-based ones. B2C2’s licensure follows that of other crypto-focused companies, including IG, CMC Markets and crypto trading platform eToro, which has been FCA-regulated since 2013.

While the licensure is not a first, it is notable in that more crypto-related financial instruments are becoming available to investors. The development has been covered by crypto and finance media such as Bitcoin Magazine and Finance Magnates.

The firm’s co-founder, Max Boonen, believes the acceptance of the license will allow investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrency markets while avoiding the risks associated with crypto custody.

Moreover, the FCA may compensate customers in case the company fails, as can been seen from the text of the registry record.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier in January, the FCA recently released a consultation paper titled “Guidance on Cryptoassets.”

In the paper, the regulator describes several ways to treat cryptocurrencies: digital assets could be considered “Specified Investments” under the UK Regulated Activities Order (RAO) or “Financial Instruments” regulated by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II.

The FCA also mentions in the paper that such assets could be regulated by E-Money Regulations or Payment Services Regulations.

Prior to that, the FCA had announced in December 2018 that it was investigating 18 companies over cryptocurrency use under the freedom of information laws.

In October, the U.K. FCA had also noted that they were considering banning cryptocurrency-based derivatives, as they currently fall under the FCA’s regulatory perimeter and thus requires its official authorization. The FCA stated at the time that they will launch a consultation in early 2019 on the matter.

In November, the financial regulator issued a statement to investors warning them of the high-risks of investing in crypto CFDs. And in November, the FCA announced that they were also considering banning crypto futures as part of their general industry response.