The United Kingdom’s finance watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that it is investigating 18 companies over cryptocurrency use, local daily news outlet the Telegraph reported Dec. 29.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request from the publication, the FCA said it had closed the vast majority of its investigations into cryptocurrency-related businesses since May of this year.
The statistics were accurate as of Nov. 12, the FOI response added.
Out of a total of 67 such inquiries, it revealed, 49 had come to an end, either by issuing a warning to those involved or admitting there was not enough evidence to support officials’ suspicions.
Due to the ongoing nature of the proceedings, the FCA refused to mention any identifying information about the remaining 18 targets of its probe.
The U.K. is currently in the midst of upheaval regarding its domestic cryptocurrency economy. As Cointelegraph reported, the desire among lawmakers to adopt a somewhat hardline stance on the industry has met with opposition from sources involved with cryptocurrency, both directly and indirectly.
In October, a report by the British Business Federation Authority argued that “bad regulation is worse than no regulation at all”, describing current efforts by government as a “blunt instrument approach.”
This month saw tax authorities release the first incarnation of cryptocurrency tax advice for private investors, with similar rules for businesses set to come later.
According to media outlet Sky News, more than 300 crypto-related entities ceased operating in the U.K. in 2018.
At the same time, a recent survey of public opinion found strong awareness of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin among U.K. consumers.