US-based OANDA Gains Approval to Offer Crypto Services in the UK

OANDA is a US-based cryptocurrency trading platform that has now acquired a trading license to offer virtual currency offerings in the United Kingdom. The platform has announced the listing of 63 crypto trading pairs available for account holders in the new territory.

To this end, the platform is set to expand its existing clientele. OANDA is a brokerage firm specializing in cryptocurrency services and has now become a registered subsidiary of OANDA Crypto in the region.

The subsidiary first started business in 203 after the brokerage acquired a majority stake in an FCA-regulated platform called Coinpass. The listed cryptocurrencies on the platforms include Bitcoin and Ethereum and the administration has shared plans to add more currencies to the mix in the upcoming years.

OANDA’s expansion in the United Kingdom was finalized only a year after the firm signed a partnership deal with US-based stablecoin issuer and trading platform Paxos.

OANDA moved its headquarters from Europe to Malta and then transferred to Warsaw, Poland. On this front, the platform started working with a Polish brokerage firm Dom Maklerski TMS Brokers SA. This platform was latest relaunched as OANDA TMS.

It is important to note that OANDA has continued to pick jurisdictions that have a strict regulatory policy for the crypto industry. It is worth mentioning that various virtual asset services providers (VASPs) have withdrawn their services from the UK after 2023 October.

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Financial Conduct Authority Continues to Crack Down Against Crypto Firms

UK’s highest regulatory agency FCA has retained a strict stance against the cryptocurrency industry since 2023. It was around the same time when various VASPs such as Bybit and Revolut decided to temporarily suspend their services in the region.

The strict stance is not limited to the foreign crypto firms but the regulated crypto companies operating in the region are also mandated to adhere to the austere advertisement policies of FCA.

In accordance with FCA guidelines, crypto firms operating in the region have to inform the investors about the potential risk exposure of investing in virtual currencies. Additionally, FCA officials also reported a considerable amount of non-compliant crypto firms that have violated the advertisement rules effective since 8th October 2023.

To address the matter, FCA issued 450 alerts to customers against firms illegally marketing their products or services to UK-based consumers.

Lucian Lauerman, head of digital assets at OANDA has noticed that crypto investors residing in the UK are highly educated and maintain active market participation. He further noticed that firms in the blockchain industry have become more compliant and aligned with the traditional financial sector. At the same time, he pointed out that the regulatory standards for the crypto sector have been elevated to higher standards.

UK Regulators to Remain Anti-Crypto

An article published in the Financial Times indicates that regulators in the United Kingdom are increasingly becoming the only nation in the Western hemisphere to remain anti-crypto. As of 2024 major economic jurisdictions such as the United States, Europe, Brazil, Australia, and Canada have approved Bitcoin-based spot ETFs.

On the other opposite side of the world, regulators in Hong Kong have also encouraged local financial platforms to submit Bitcoin ETF applications.

At the same time, Rishi Sunak who served as Finance Minister prior to his appointment as premier has retained a crypto-friendly stance. He shared plans to convert the UK into a crypto hub and introduce a regulatory framework for the sector.

Regardless of the high-profile ETF listings in the USA, the country has adhered to the 2021 ruling as a regulatory position on crypto. In 2021, the FCA banned crypto-based derivatives and ETPs from retail investors within its jurisdiction.

FCA Concerns Regarding Leveraged Services

FCA has cited concerns regarding leveraged trading services in the sector with some trading platforms offering as high as 100x leverage on Bitcoin. At the same time, the regulator has also imposed restrictions on unleveraged crypto investments such as spot ETPs and futures.

Speaking on the matter, Bradley Duke, CFO of ETC Group based out of London told reporters that it listed the $1 billion spot Bitcoin ETC on Euronext (Amsterdam and Paris), Xetra exchange (Frankfurt), SIX Swiss Exchange, and CBOE (Chicago). However, the product is still not listed on LSE on account of retail exodus.

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