FCA issues final Policy Statement on cryptoassets

July 31, 2019

The Financial Conduct Authority has published its final guidance on cryptoasset regulation. Publication follows release of a draft statement and a consultation period that closed in April this year

The guidance aims to help market participants understand

“whether the cryptoassets they use are within the regulatory perimeter. This will alert market participants to pertinent issues and should help them better understand whether they need to be authorised and what rules or regulations apply to their business.”

and sets out where tokens are likely to be:

  • specified investments under the Regulated Activities Order
  • e-money under the E-Money Regulations
  • captured under the Payment Services Regulations
  • outside of regulation

The principal amendments made to the original guidance following the consultation are drafting changes to improve clarity including reframing the taxonomy of cryptoassets to help market participants better understand whether tokens are regulated, and where they fall outside the FCA’s remit. Ninety two organisations responded to the consultation.

The final Policy Statement is set out in Appendix 1 of the consultation response. 

In the accompanying news release the FCA was keen to make a note of caution when it comes to investing in cryptoassets:

“Consumers should be mindful of the absence of certain regulatory protections when considering purchasing unregulated cryptoassets. Unregulated cryptoassets (e.g. Bitcoin, Ether, XRP etc.) are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and consumers do not have recourse to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Consumers should be cautious when investing in such cryptoassets and should ensure they understand and can bear the risks involved with assets that have no intrinsic value.”