What Are The Crypto Laws In The UK?

Cryptocurrencies have seen a significant rise in popularity, attracting both investors and businesses. However, it is crucial to comply with existing regulations to avoid legal issues.

In the UK, while holding crypto isn’t directly regulated, various activities involving crypto are subject to existing laws.

Staying informed about these regulations is essential for anyone involved in the crypto space. Here, we explore the current crypto laws in the UK. Let’s take a closer look…


The UK Has No Specific Crypto Regulations


The UK’s approach to crypto regulation focuses more on the actions associated with cryptocurrencies rather than the assets themselves. This means that while holding or owning crypto isn’t directly regulated, the way you use it can trigger existing legal frameworks.

Consider cryptocurrencies like a tool—useful depending on how it’s applied. The UK doesn’t regulate the possession of crypto assets like Bitcoin directly. Instead, regulations are applied based on the activities involving these assets.

The “tool” itself isn’t regulated. Owning Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency in the UK is similar to having a hammer in your toolbox. There are no specific rules about the mere possession of crypto assets.


Regulations Apply To How Crypto Is Used

Regulations come into play when crypto is used in various activities:

Buying and Selling (Exchanges): When you trade crypto on an exchange, Anti-Money Laundering  regulations are enforced. This means exchanges must follow Know Your Customer procedures to prevent illegal activities.

Profiting (Taxes): Selling crypto for a profit can trigger Capital Gains Tax if the gains exceed the annual allowance, similar to the tax treatment of stock market gains.

Marketing (Advertising): Promoting crypto investments requires adherence to Financial Conduct Authority guidelines, ensuring that advertisements are clear, fair, and protect consumers.


The Future of Crypto Regulation

The UK is working towards a more comprehensive regulatory framework specifically for cryptocurrencies. While the current focus is on how crypto is used, future regulations might involve more direct control over the crypto assets themselves. This evolving approach aims to balance innovation with strict consumer protection.


Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and KYC


The UK has strict measures in place to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, extending these efforts to the cryptocurrency sector. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforces Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations to ensure crypto exchanges and custodial services operate legally and safely.


FCA Registration

Crypto-related companies, such as exchanges and custodial services, must register with the FCA. This registration ensures that these entities comply with AML regulations, maintaining the integrity of the financial system.


Know Your Customer (KYC)

A vital part of AML is Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. Registered crypto companies are required to perform KYC procedures on their customers, similar to the process of opening a bank account. These checks involve verifying:

Identity: Customers must provide official documents like passports or driving licenses.
Residence: Proof of address through utility bills or bank statements is required.
Source of Funds: Understanding where the money comes from helps detect potential money laundering risks.


Benefits of KYC

KYC checks play a crucial role in protecting the crypto space by:

Flagging Suspicious Activity: Identifying transactions that may be linked to money laundering or other criminal activities.
Protecting Consumers: Reducing the risk of consumers unknowingly participating in illegal activities.
Maintaining Financial Stability: Creating a trustworthy and stable market environment by keeping criminal activity at bay.

FCA registration and KYC checks act as essential security measures, creating a safer environment for everyone involved in the UK’s crypto sector. As the crypto sector evolves, so will the UK’s regulatory framework to address emerging challenges and opportunities.




Understanding how crypto is taxed in the UK is crucial for anyone involved in buying, selling, or trading digital assets. Here’s a breakdown of how Capital Gains Tax (CGT) applies to cryptocurrency.


Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital Gains Tax comes into play when you dispose of an asset, such as cryptocurrency, for more than its purchase price. You are liable to pay CGT on any gains that exceed the annual tax-free allowance.


Tracking Transactions

Accurate record-keeping of all crypto transactions is essential. This includes the dates, amounts, and values of each transaction to determine the cost base, which is the initial price paid for the crypto. This information is vital for calculating any capital gains accurately.


Calculating Your Tax

When you sell crypto for a profit, subtract the cost base, including any allowable expenses, from the sale price. The resulting difference is your capital gain. For instance, if you bought Bitcoin for £1,000 and sold it for £2,000, your capital gain would be £1,000.


Tax-Free Allowance

For the 2023/24 tax year, the tax-free allowance for capital gains is £6,000. If your total capital gains from all assets, including crypto, fall below this amount, you won’t owe any CGT.

Consulting a tax advisor is advisable, especially for frequent traders or those with complex transactions, to ensure compliance with HMRC regulations and to receive personalised guidance.


Marketing and Advertising


The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plays a vital role in protecting consumers in the crypto advertising space.

The FCA’s main priority is consumer protection. Cryptocurrencies are complex and volatile assets, and the FCA aims to ensure that consumers fully understand the risks before investing.


Clear and Fair Advertising

The FCA mandates that crypto advertisements be clear, fair, and not misleading. This means avoiding exaggerated claims about potential returns and ensuring that risks are not downplayed. Transparency is key to maintaining trust and integrity in the market.


Risk Warnings

Advertisements for crypto must include clear risk warnings. Terms like “capital at risk,” “high volatility,” or “not regulated” should be prominently displayed. These warnings need to be easily understandable and not hidden in fine print, ensuring consumers are fully aware of the potential dangers.


Targeting The Right Audience

The FCA discourages irresponsible marketing practices that target inexperienced or vulnerable investors. Advertisements should be appropriate for the intended audience and should not create unrealistic expectations about the profitability or safety of crypto investments.


FCA Approval

In certain cases, crypto firms promoting their services to UK consumers might need FCA authorisation or approval for their advertisements. This ensures that the marketing materials adhere to the FCA’s standards and provide a level of oversight and assurance.


Consequences of Non-Compliance

Firms that fail to comply with FCA advertising regulations face enforcement actions, which can include fines, removal of advertisements, or restrictions on their ability to operate in the UK. This highlights the importance of adhering to these standards.

In summary, the UK’s current approach to cryptocurrency regulation focuses on the actions surrounding crypto use rather than the assets themselves. By applying existing legal frameworks to various crypto-related activities, the UK aims to foster innovation while ensuring consumer protection and preventing illegal activities.

As the cryptocurrency sector continues to evolve, the UK is expected to develop more comprehensive regulations to address emerging challenges and opportunities in this dynamic sector.