Bybit to Halt Operations in the UK After Receiving ‘Ultimatum’ from Financial Regulator

Dubai-based cryptocurrency exchange Bybit has revealed its decision to halt its services for customers in the United Kingdom, citing upcoming regulatory changes from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

In a press release issued on September 22nd, Bybit outlined its plan to suspend services to UK residents, commencing on October 1st. This initial step will involve no longer accepting new account applications. Subsequently, on October 8th, the exchange will extend the suspension to new deposits, the creation of new contracts, and modifications to existing user positions.

The company explained its decision by stating, “In light of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s forthcoming regulations concerning marketing and communications within the cryptocurrency sector, Bybit has chosen to proactively embrace these regulations and temporarily pause its operations in this market.”

Bybit’s timeline for winding down operations coincides with the FCA’s deadline for cryptocurrency firms that market their services to UK users to comply with specific regulations designed to ensure “clear, fair, and non-misleading” marketing practices. The FCA initially announced these rules in June and issued a further warning on September 21, emphasizing the October 8 deadline and the potential legal consequences for non-compliant firms.

Bybit’s decision to suspend services aligns with its commitment to redirect its efforts and resources towards achieving full compliance with UK regulatory standards in the future. The FCA has indicated that certain companies may have until January 2024 to meet the new marketing rules, provided they secure prior approval from the regulatory authority.

This move by Bybit echoes a similar decision made in May, when the exchange announced the winding down of its services in Canada due to “recent regulatory developments.” However, the company has simultaneously expanded its presence in other regions, such as Kazakhstan, where it obtained in-principle approval in May to operate as a cryptocurrency custody service provider.

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