Regardless of whether you are in the UK, or the type of technology you use, companies marketing ‘qualifying cryptoassets’ to customers in the UK will need to comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s financial promotions regime. We published a Cooley alert summarising the regime in March 2023. Last month we noted that the FCA had published a “final warning” reminding companies promoting cryptoassets to UK consumers that they must get ready for the regime.
The regime came into force on 8 October 2023; on the same day, the FCA published 146 warnings identifying firms that it believes could be illegally promoting cryptoassets to UK consumers. It is clear from this list that the FCA has not shied away from issuing warnings against firms based outside of the UK.
The FCA’s “final warning” highlighted that it expects social media companies, search engines, app stores and others to play their part in ensuring that illegal financial promotions are not communicated to UK consumers by unregistered cryptoasset firms and stressed that these intermediaries will be at risk of committing money laundering offences under POCA if they support unregistered cryptoasset firms by, for example, communicating their ads. It also suggested that illegal cryptoasset promotions will be considered “illegal content” under the new Online Safety Bill, and that the FCA and Ofcom are working closely together on this topic.
The FCA’s statement accompanying the warnings pressed intermediaries to consider its previous alerts.