UK cryptoasset firms who have not yet registered with the FCA will have to return customer money and cease trading by 10 January, the financial watchdog has warned.
The FCA took on supervisory responsibility for anti-money laundering in January last year and required existing crypto busineses to register with it by 15 December this year in order to enforce compliance.
The FCA says it has not been able to assess and register all firms that have applied for registration, "due to the complexity and standard of the applications received", and the pandemic restrictions on office visits.
To deal with the backlog, the watchdog has established a Temporary Registration Regime for existing cryptoasset businesses which have applied for registration before 16 December 2020, and whose applications are still being assessed. This is to enable those existing businesses to continue to trade after 9 January 2021 until 9 July 2021, pending the FCA’s determination of their application.
"Firms that did not submit an application by 15 December 2020 will not be eligible for the temporary registration regime," states the FCA. "They will need to return cryptoassets to customers and stop trading by 10 January 2021. Firms that do not stop trading by that date are at risk of being subject to the FCA’s criminal and civil enforcement powers."