Bybit denies earlier reports that the exchange will exit UK
CEO Ben Zhou contradicted previous reports, saying that "leaving the U.K. is not part of our current strategy."
Bybit announced on Sept. 14 that it intends to continue operating its crypto exchange in the U.K., contradicting earlier reports that it would exit that country.
On Twitter/X, a company spokesperson wrote:
“We consider the UK to be a highly important market for the advancement of crypto and blockchain technologies. Our commitment to this market is unwavering, and we intend to maintain our presence in the UK for the long term.”
The company’s CEO, Ben Zhou, added that the company is talking with regulators to find a solution and reach an agreement. In a separate statement to CoinDesk, CEO Ben Zhou said that “leaving the U.K. is not part of our current strategy.”
Zhou was quoted in earlier reports saying that Bybit would likely “have to exit [the U.K.] very soon” due to upcoming regulations that restrict how crypto companies advertise and promote themselves. Furthermore, he described the regulations as extremely broad, stating:
“[The] FCA has … asked what our plan is to deal with this new law. And the new law is that if you use English as a language, they will see you as trying to solicit their users, so you cannot claim that you are in reverse solicitation.”
Zhou’s interpretations of the new rules are his own. Nevertheless, the regulations in question are very strict. In addition to banning referral programs and mandating risk warnings, the rules allow for harsh penalties, including prison sentences and unlimited fines.
Changes could affect entire crypto industry
Though those companies have not directly commented on the matter, others have already announced temporary withdrawals from the U.K. market. PayPal said on Aug. 14 that it will pause its U.K. services until 2024. Luno said on Sept. 11 that it will pause its U.K. services until an unknown date. (Binance also withdrew from the U.K. in June 2023 but did not refer to upcoming changes to advertising regulations.)
Bybit is among the largest exchanges by volume. Over the past 24 hours, it handled over $820 million in cryptocurrency transactions, according to CoinGecko data. By extension, it is also one of the largest companies to comment on the rule change publicly.
The U.K.’s new crypto advertising regulations will take effect on Oct. 8. Companies can apply for a three-month grace period to make any necessary changes.