(Bloomberg) --

Crypto.com said it received approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to be registered as a cryptoasset service provider in the country, a key step to expanding operations there. 

The FCA’s registration process, made permanent in April after two years of employing a temporary regime, requires crypto companies to meet the same anti-money laundering standards as other financial services firms. The FCA has so far approved 37 of more than 100 crypto companies that applied for permanent registration. 

Kris Marszalek, Crypto.com’s chief executive officer, said the UK has become a “strategically important market” for the firm, after former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak helped champion a push to become a crypto hub. It has around 100 employees in the country now, Marszalek said in an interview, a size that “allows us to invest with confidence” there.

“The UK is one of the most important markets globally for crypto,” he said, citing the country’s reputation for fintech development and access to talent. 

The UK has prioritized legislation to regulate the stablecoin sector following the collapse of the TerraUSD token in May, as well as legal reform governing the ownership of cryptoassets and how they fit into existing financial promotions rules. 

Read more: Brexit Becomes Key Part of UK’s Pitch to Win Back Crypto Firms

Among companies that have received FCA registration are rival crypto exchanges Gemini, Kraken and eToro. Firms including Copper Technologies Ltd., B2C2 and Wirex have opted to get regulatory approval overseas after their UK applications were either unsuccessful or voluntarily withdrawn.

Crypto.com plans to boost spending on UK-focused marketing after the registration, Marszalek said. The exchange last year signed actor Matt Damon to be the face of the company, and it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on multi-year naming rights for a Los Angeles sporting center. 

The company, which says it has more than 50 million customers globally, hired a general manager for its UK operations in March. It holds other registrations and provisional approvals in countries including Singapore, Dubai, South Korea and Italy.

Marszalek said he expects consolidation among crypto exchanges in the UK. “The smaller players will have no choice but to get acquired or face shutting down,” he said. 

(Updates with comment from Crypto.com CEO from third paragraph.)

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