We summarise the feedback we received to CP22/2 on cryptoassets and set out our final policy position and near final Handbook rules.
What we are changing
In CP22/2 we proposed to classify cryptoassets as ‘Restricted Mass Market Investments’.
This would allow cryptoassets to be mass marketed to UK consumers subject to certain restrictions, in addition to the overarching requirement that financial promotions must be fair, clear and not misleading.
The restrictions proposed included: clear risk warnings, banning incentives to invest, positive frictions, client categorisation requirements and appropriateness assessments.
Finalised Guidance for cryptoasset financial promotions (FG23/3) is now published. The Guidance provides information on, and sets out our expectations of, the communication and approval of financial promotions for qualifying cryptoassets. The Guidance does not create new obligations for firms but relates to firms’ existing regulatory obligations.
Who this is for
This PS and rules will be directly relevant to:
- consumers investing, or who are considering investing, in cryptoassets
- cryptoasset businesses registered with the FCA
- cryptoasset business considering, or in the process of, registering with the FCA
- overseas cryptoasset firms marketing, or considering marketing, to UK consumers
- authorised firms considering communicating or approving cryptoasset financial promotions
- trade bodies for the cryptoasset sector
- other persons involved in communicating cryptoasset financial promotions to UK consumers
The PS and rules will also be of interest to:
- any authorised firm or trade body in the consumer investments sector
All firms marketing cryptoassets to UK consumers, including those based overseas, must get ready for this regime now. Firms should review the statutory instrument giving effect to this regime alongside this PS.
If firms intend to continue marketing to UK consumers once the regime comes into force they must consider how they will use to lawfully communicate their promotions and how they will meet the relevant requirements of that route. We encourage firms to take all necessary advice as part of their preparations.
We will take robust action against firms breaching these requirements. This may include, but it is not limited to, requesting take downs of websites that are in breach, placing restrictions on firms to prevent harmful promotions and enforcement action.
In January 2022, the Government published a consultation response setting out its intention to legislate to bring certain promotions of ‘qualifying cryptoassets’ (referred to as cryptoassets in the rest of this document for simplicity) within the FCA’s remit.
The proposed legislative approach was updated in a policy statement published 1 February 2023. The financial promotions regime will apply to all firms marketing cryptoassets to UK consumers regardless of whether the firm is based overseas or what technology is used to make the promotion.
In January 2022, we consulted on financial promotion rules for high-risk investments including cryptoassets (CP22/2). In August 2022, we published our final rules for other high-risk investments excluding cryptoassets (PS22/10).
We noted that we would make our rules for cryptoassets once the relevant legislation had been made and that we intended to take a consistent approach to cryptoassets to that taken for other high-risk investments.