The UK’s financial regulatory body, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), has revealed that it is has ongoing investigations into 18 companies with respect to cryptocurrency transactions.

According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, the FCA is concerned about risks to UK investors and has launched inquiries into 67 UK-based companies since November, with 18 still ongoing. Of the 49 cases closed, the body has issued consumer alerts regarding 39 of the businesses.

The FCA would not confirm the names of the 18 companies being probed however, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation and owing to commercial concerns for the firms.

Crypto UK, the industry’s self-regulatory trade association said:

As an industry, we have been calling for the introduction of proportionate regulation. Over the coming months we will be working closely with policymakers, including in the FCA, to develop new regulation that strikes the balance between ending bad practice and enabling this exciting industry to flourish, as it does in other countries.

Poised for Regulation

This latest round of probes comes at a time when the UK government and regulatory apparatus are ramping up their efforts to form a more definitive framework for the industry.

As it stands, the sale, purchase and transfer of cryptoassets is unregulated in the UK, but the sale of crypto derivatives such as CFDs (Contracts For Difference) does generally fall under the purview of the FCA.

Earlier this month, the UK Government and the FCA released their responses to September’s Treasury Select Committee report on cryptoassets. The two bodies reaffirmed the importance of consumer protection and the need to limit the potential for illicit activity with digital assets.

The FCA has also mooted the potential ban of crypto derivatives, and will be launching a consultation next year to formally explore regulating cryptoassets, and “related firms such as exchanges and wallet providers.”