UK watchdog bans cryptocurrency exchange Binance (updated)

Digital money now faces a significant setback.

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Cryptocurrency just faced another obstacle in the quest for government acceptance. The Financial Times reports that the UK's Financial Conduct Authority has banned the major crypto exchange Binance from conducting regulated activity in the country, including Binance Markets Limited and its parent Binance Group. The watchdog didn't say just why it blocked Binance, but noted that an "imposition of requirements" kept Binance from operating.

Binance has until June 30th to confirm that it's honoring the FCA's demands.

Engadget has asked Binance for comment. In the past, it said it took regulatory obligations "very seriously" and was "committed" to honoring the rules wherever it operated.

It's a significant blow. Binance is one of the largest crypto exchanges on the planet, with locations around the world and an industry-leading trading volume of about $2.46 trillion as of May 2021. The FCA's crackdown could not only limit trading in a major market, but hurt the company's reputation. It's not clear how easily Binance can address its situation, but it's under more than a little pressure to act quickly.

Update 6/27 2:55PM ET: Binance told Engadget this shouldn't have a direct effect on activity through its main website. Binance Markets Limited is legally separate and has "not yet launched" its UK business, the company said. This still isn't what the exchange operator wanted to hear, but it's not necessarily a calamity.