Cryptocurrency firm Ripple has applied for a crypto asset firm registration with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a partial victory against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to Source, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse confirmed that the company submitted an application for the registration, which will allow it to legally operate and provide crypto services in the UK. Garlinghouse said the decision follows “months of constructive conversations” with UK regulators.
Ripple is also seeking a payments license from financial regulators in Ireland as part of its expansion plans in Europe. The move comes after a federal judge ruled that XRP, the cryptocurrency associated with Ripple, was not an investment contract in all cases.
The SEC had claimed that XRP was a security due to Ripple’s role in its creation and distribution. However, the court found that XRP sold to retail investors did not constitute an investment contract, though XRP sold to institutional investors could be considered securities.
The case is not over yet, and the SEC still has the option to appeal. Nevertheless, Ripple and the crypto industry viewed thejudge’s decision as a significant and positive step toward regulatory clarity in the U.S.
Ripple’s applications with UK and Irish regulators reflect a broader trend of crypto firms looking outside the U.S. for friendlier regulations and business environments. The SEC has ramped up enforcement actions against cryptocurrency businesses in recent years.
Business advisory firm Andreessen Horowitz recently announced it was opening its first international office in London, citing “months of constructive conversations” with UK regulators and a “predictable business environment.”
The UK government has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at establishing a regulated crypto market. A bill giving regulators greater authority over crypto businesses recently became law after being granted royal assent.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in the British House of Lords are discussing proposals to expand authorities’ ability to seize cryptocurrencies used for criminal purposes. The draft bill would give authorities more flexibility in confiscating and recovering digital assets.
Overall, Ripple’s applications for crypto licenses in the UK and Ireland demonstrate how some firms are seeking respite abroad from the uncertain regulatory climate for cryptocurrencies in the U.S. The UK appears to be moving quickly to establish itself as a hub for crypto businesses seeking more supportive policies.