The UK’s FCA has published its Final Guidance setting out the activities and types of crypto-assets it regulates, helping firms understand whether they need to be authorised and what they need to do to ensure they are compliant. Most of the rules that apply were proposed in the FCA’s January 2019 Consultation Paper, which was open to public comment.
The categories of crypto-assets (exchange, utility, security) were defined by the UK Crypto-asset Task Force. In this Guidance, the FCA examine how each of these fall within the regulatory perimeter i.e. specified investments under the RAO; financial instruments under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID); e-money under the E-Money Regulations (EMRs); and within the scope of the Payments Services Regulations (PSRs). While exchange tokens (e.g. Bitcoin) are outside the regulatory perimeter, except for upcoming AML rules (5AMLD); utility tokens, while not specified investments, may meet the definition of e-money in some circumstances (as could other tokens). In this case, activities involving them may be regulated.