In the wake of its partial triumph against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ripple, the renowned payments network and tech company, is making moves in the UK. A spokesperson confirmed to Cointelegraph that Ripple has applied for registration as a crypto asset firm with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Furthermore, as part of its extensive regional investment plan, the company is pursuing a payments license in Ireland.
The application to the FCA comes on the heels of Ripple’s semi-victory in the U.S. over the categorization of its native XRP token. While the token was deemed a security when marketed to institutional entities, the same did not apply to retail investors. This distinction, celebrated by both Ripple and the wider crypto community, might still face challenges as the SEC retains the right to appeal.
This move by Ripple echoes a broader trend among crypto-based companies, many of whom are turning to the UK in search of a clearer regulatory landscape and a more accommodating business environment. This shift is especially apparent given the escalating enforcement actions by the SEC stateside.
Highlighting this inclination, venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz (A16z) recently publicized the inauguration of its inaugural non-U.S. office in London. Their decision was influenced by “months of constructive conversations” with the FCA and other policymakers, underscoring the UK’s “predictable business environment” as a primary motivation for their overseas expansion.
The UK, for its part, is demonstrating a proactive approach to regulating the burgeoning crypto domain. In June, the monarchy sanctioned a law placing cryptocurrencies under similar regulatory umbrellas as traditional assets. This groundbreaking legislation empowers prominent institutions like the UK Treasury, the FCA, the Bank of England, and the Payments Systems Regulator with the authority to both introduce and implement regulations pertinent to crypto enterprises.
Furthermore, in a bid to curb the misuse of cryptocurrencies for unlawful activities, the UK legislators are debating drafts of potential laws. These prospective regulations could endow authorities with enhanced latitude in both the seizure and recovery of crypto assets involved in illicit operations.
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