LONDON â¢ The main cryptocurrency exchange Binance is not allowed to operate in Italy, the country’s market watchdog Consob said on Thursday, joining a series of global regulatory actions against the platform.
Companies in the Binance group are not permitted to provide investment services and activities in Italy, even through the exchange’s main website, which offers information in Italian on derivatives and tokenized versions of shares, a the watchdog said in a statement.
âSavers are invited to exercise the utmost diligence in order to make their investment choices in full knowledge of the facts, by checking beforehand that the websites through which they make the investment can be attributed to authorized subjects. Â», Said Consob.
A Binance spokesperson said its website is not operating from Italy and the Consob’s notice has no direct impact on its services.
“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously,” he added.
As the cryptocurrency industry grows worldwide amid concerns over consumer protection and the use of digital coins for money laundering and other criminal activity, authorities have focused on the latter. months on Binance.
Britain’s financial watchdog last month banned the platform – one of the world’s largest exchanges – from carrying out regulated activities in the country.
Watchdogs in Thailand, Japan, Germany and the United States have also targeted Binance in recent months. German regulator BaFin said in April that Binance risked being fined for offering “stock tokens” without issuing a prospectus for investors.
In a letter to Binance lawyers seen by Reuters, Consob said it had the power to order internet providers in the country to stop offering their services to unauthorized investment service providers.
“According to Italian law, the provision of investment services and activities without the prescribed authorization constitutes an illicit activity punishable by criminal law,” the letter said.
The regulator can also order unauthorized investment service providers to stop offering their services, he said.
It is not known whether the Consob asked local internet companies to block Binance’s website, or whether it referred the case to the magistrates.
Binance declined to comment on the letter.
Binance was the world’s largest exchange last month in terms of spot trading volumes, according to data from UK researcher CryptoCompare, with trading volumes reaching US $ 668 billion (S $ 905 billion) – a jump of almost ten times compared to July of last year.
The platform offers a wide range of services to users around the world, from spot trading of cryptocurrency and derivatives to digital wallets and stock tokens – digital versions of stocks indexed to the value of the relevant stock. .
While the number of Binance users in Italy is unclear, its Italian-language channel on the Telegram messaging site has more than 25,500 members.
The company’s corporate structure is opaque, with its holding company largely registered in the Cayman Islands.
Binance declined to comment on its location, saying it was “decentralized” and “works with a number of regulated entities around the world.”
Consob’s move comes after its chief said last month that the spread of cryptocurrencies without any clear regulation was a cause for concern and could damage the functioning of the market.