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The Wall Street Journal: Crypto exchange Binance ordered to cease activity in U.K.

Authorities in the U.K. and Japan took aim at affiliates of Binance Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange network, in the latest regulatory crackdown on the wildly popular trade in bitcoin and other digital assets.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, the country’s lead financial regulator, told consumers Saturday that Binance’s local unit wasn’t permitted to conduct operations related to regulated financial activities.

Binance offers trading of cryptocurrencies and derivatives linked to them such as futures. Binance Markets Ltd., the company’s U.K. arm, applied to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and withdrew its application on May 17.

“A significantly high number of cryptoasset businesses are not meeting the required standards” under money-laundering regulations, said a spokesperson for the FCA in an email. “Of the firms we’ve assessed to date, over 90% have withdrawn applications following our intervention.”

Japan’s financial watchdog issued a statement on June 25, saying that Binance isn’t registered to do business in the country.

The price of bitcoin
BTCUSD,
+5.64%

whipsawed over the weekend after the regulatory moves, falling as much as 6% from its level at 5 p.m. ET on Friday before recovering all the lost ground and trading around $33,250 on Sunday, according to data from CoinDesk.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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