FCA gives Gemini, Archax exchanges green light to operate in UK

Gemini and Archax have secured the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) license to offer digital currency exchange services in the United Kingdom. The two firms have become the first in the industry to receive the license as the January 2021 deadline draws closer.

The FCA has now added Gemini Europe Limited, the U.K. subsidiary of the Winklevoss twins’ exchange, to its list of registered cryptoasset firms.

Archax received its license on August 19, a day earlier than Gemini, becoming the first firm to be officially registered under the new regulatory regime. In its press release, the London-based firm stated that the license marked an important milestone for the firm, as well as the digital currency industry in the country.

“For the first time, digital issuances from across the world will be able to trade on an FCA authorised secondary market and institutions will have access to a credible regulated trading venue on which to engage with the digital securities space.”

The new licensing commenced on January 10, 2020, requiring all digital currency operators in the U.K. to register with the FCA. They also had to comply with the amended money laundering, terrorist financing and transfer of funds directives. The deadline for the registration is January 10, 2021.

The licensing for Gemini comes just days after it became accepted by the state of Hawaii in its digital currency regulatory sandbox. As a member of the sandbox, the New York-based exchange can offer its full services without obtaining the necessary state licenses.

While Gemini and Archax are the only firms officially licensed by the FCA, several other firms currently operate in the U.K. market. Some of these firms claim to have received licensing from the regulator to offer various digital currency-related services.

One of these is Decent Finance Limited, a subsidiary of global exchange operator CEX.IO Group. In January this year, the company claimed to have received licensing from the FCA to conduct electronic money activities in the U.K. With this license, CEX.IO reportedly planned on launching a service that would allow U.K. clients to invest in digital assets.

Crypto Facilities, a trading platform that Kraken exchange acquired in 2019, is also authorized for “specific activities and product types.”

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