Santander UK joins Barclays in blocking payments to Binance after regulator clamps down on the crypto exchange

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Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao.

  • Santander’s UK unit has joined Barclays in blocking customer payments to crypto exchange Binance.
  • The FCA, the UK financial watchdog, has banned Binance from trading regulated derivatives.
  • A series of countries have been cracking down on the crypto exchange, including Poland and Japan.
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Santander UK has joined rival banks Barclays and NatWest in stopping its customers from making payments to Binance after the national regulator said the cryptocurrency exchange was not allowed to trade regulated derivatives.

In a customer update sent via email on Thursday, Santander told its UK clients the bank would block payments to Binance for their client safety and protection. Customers could however still receive funds from Binance.

“We’re taking this step as we want to do everything we can to protect you and keep your money safe.” the email said.

The bank cited the FCA’s statement warning consumers about Binance and said they were making the change to protect customers from fraud.

“In recent months, we have seen a large increase in UK customers becoming the victims of cryptocurrency fraud. Keeping our customers safe is a top priority, so we have decided to prevent payments to Binance following the FCA’s warning to consumers.” Santander’s UK customer service account added via Twitter in response to a complaint about the ban.

Santander’s customers had taken to the social media platform to protest the ban and suggest they would close their accounts with the bank unless it reversed its decision

The Financial Conduct Authority told Binance in late June it had to halt regulated activities unless it obtained prior written permission from the regulator. The FCA effectively banned the crypto exchange’s UK-listed entity, Binance Markets, from offering crypto derivatives.

A series of UK-based financial institutions have since stopped their customers from making payments to the crypto exchange platform, among them Barclays and NatWest, which are some of the biggest retail banks in the country.

Binance’s main exchange is not UK-based, so people in the country who buy and sell cryptocurrencies via its platform will not be affected by the ban, the crypto exchange provider said at the time of the ban.

Binance has been in the hot seat in various countries now – most recently the Polish regulator urged caution, while Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission filed a criminal complaint against the company for unlicensed operating.

Japan’s regulator had also issued a warning about Binance operating in the country despite not having obtained a license to do so and the crypto exchange risks being fined in Germany for offering digital tokens that track securities without presenting an investor prospectus, according to Reuters.

On Wednesday, the day before Santander’s announcement, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote a blog post addressing the regulatory crackdown. He said he welcomed regulation as it helped the industry grow and that Binance was focused on its customers best interests.

“Compliance is a journey – especially in new sectors like crypto. […] Binance has grown very quickly and we haven’t always got everything exactly right, but we are learning and improving every day. We hope to clarify and reiterate our commitment to partner with regulators, and that we are proactively hiring more talent, putting in place more systems and processes to protect our users.” he wrote.

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TikTok users have been warned by regulators about taking risky stock tips from influencers

Many young people have flocked to TikTok for investing advice.

  • The UK financial regulator has warned TikTok users about taking stock tips from the app.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority warned about “promising high-return investments,” per BBC News
  • One user posted videos with names like: “Only future millionaires can see this video!!” 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

TikTok users were being warned about risky investment advice on the social app, BBC News reported.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority told investors should be wary of any advice promising high-return investments, the report said. 

“There are risks with taking unregulated investment advice and we engage with social media platforms to have pages which breach our regulations taken down,” an FCA spokesperson told Cristina Criddle, a BBC tech reporter.

Social media has been flooded with investment advice in the last few weeks, as Reddit’s Wall Street Bets subreddit banded together and fueled sky-high returns on GameStop, AMC, and other investments.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal financial regulators have reportedly been discussing the trading frenzy. Lawmakers from both parties have called for investigations into volatile trading. The SEC said last week that it was “closely monitoring and evaluating” the situation.

On TikTok, users were also posting about GameStop, AMC, and other Reddit-fueled stocks. The #investing hashtag on TikTok had about 1.6 billion views, and GameStop was searched about 600 million times in a single day on the app, according to MarketWatch

Paxful, a cryptocurrency trading platform, studied how TikTok users gave investment advice, as BBC News first reported. About one in seven videos about financial investments posted on TikTok were misleading and asked users to make financial decisions without carrying disclaimers, according to Paxful

“More than half (52%) of the influencer accounts that we analyzed had posted at least one misleading video,” Paxful said in a post, “Influencer Investors.”

One TikTok user with about 130,000 followers posted videos titled “This stock will make you rich” and “Only future millionaires can see this video!!” The videos singled out specific stocks. In the videos, the user quickly flashed the companies’ balance and earnings sheets, along with their most recent stock quotes. 

“Consumers should be wary of adverts and advice online and on social media promising high-return investments, and should always do further research on the product they are considering,” an FCA spokeswoman told BBC News.

In December, Insider spoke with five TikTok creators focused on investing.


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