UK Crypto Derivatives Ban Seen Having Limited Effect on Small Market
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority’s decision to ban individual investors from speculating on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is likely to have a minimal impact, partly because the market is so small, according to analysts and industry executives who track the trading business.
Some U.K.-based brokerages that had offered the crypto derivative products to retail traders could see a drop-off in revenue, though big cryptocurrency exchanges including Kraken say the impact is likely to be minimal. While U.K. individuals can still trade the actual cryptocurrencies, there may be some traders who will seek to skirt the rules by trading on offshore exchanges.
The ban is set to take effect in January. Professional investors weren’t barred from trading cryptocurrency derivatives partly because they have greater understanding of the risks and greater capacity to absorb potential investment losses.
Regulated brokers and exchanges that had offered crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) to retail traders included the Kraken-owned Crypto Facilities, CMC Markets and IG Index.
A research report released by the FCA on June 30 estimated that about 3.86% of the general population hold cryptocurrencies in the U.K., with 12% of respondents saying they “never” monitor the prices of their cryptocurrencies.
A silver lining for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies might be that with more robust regulations on nascent digital-asset markets might encourage more institutional investors to jump in.