FTX Aspirations: Patrick Gruhn Plans to Cautiously Expand in the UK

FTX, the prominent cryptocurrency exchange, is looking to expand into the United Kingdom and has begun negotiations with regulators as part of its aim to become among the most sought-after exchanges in Europe. 

In an interview on Thursday, Patrick Gruhn, the newly appointed head of FTX Europe, stated that the company is taking a quite cautious approach with the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and that it is not comfortable in giving a schedule for when it would be able to start in the United Kingdom.

Gruhn stated that “we are looking to bring spot trading into the UK right now but it’s quite difficult,” adding that, “we want to have a dialogue with the FCA first because the FCA seems to be relatively suspicious regarding crypto.” 

The FCA’s anti-money laundering crypto register has shown to be a big roadblock for cryptocurrency companies in the United Kingdom. With only days till a major milestone, the prospects of numerous major industry actors, including Revolut, Copper, and Wirex, are in jeopardy.

Due to the expansion of the FTX in the Middle East and Europe, it has created a new subsidiary, FTX Europe, directed by Gruhn. The company’s headquarters are in Switzerland, although it also has operations in Dubai and Cyprus. The European Economic Area is handled by the operations in Cyprus.  

The UK market is difficult for FTX since its flagship products are cryptocurrency derivatives, which the FCA banned in January, according to Peter Gruhn, the head of FTX Europe. As such, spot trading products are now the emphasis of the cryptocurrency exchange

Although Britons are able to download the FTX app and register an account, the cryptocurrency exchange is not permitted to sell its services in the UK because it has not been licensed yet.

Though some cryptocurrency exchanges have in the past attempted to circumvent banking regulations, FTX, based in the Bahamas, is eager to collaborate with regulators as it expands. Gruhn was quick to point out that FTX, which was developed in 2019 by Sam Bankman-Fried, has a legal team of roughly 20 experts trying to meet regulators’ demands.

Peter Gruhn was in Oregon when he spoke on the video, confirming that he will remain in Oregon while running the European division, seeing as the time zone in the Bahamas was more inconvenient. Robin Matzke, his colleague in Berlin will smooth the work in helping Gruhn keep matters in control. 

While the aim of the FTX is to dominate the European market, Gruhn did recognize that the brand is not among the most well-known in Europe just yet. Still, FTX has plans to create intensive marketing campaigns which will include sponsoring music festivals and also issuing ads on social media, quite similar to the sports events sponsorship that the US branch is engaging into. 

It is quite hard to truly calculate FTX’s percentage of ongoing European trading because so many transactions are conducted in US Dollars instead of Euro.

The attitude of the FCA  to cryptocurrency regulation, according to Gruhn, is optimistic. He maintained that UK regulators are really not burdening operators unfairly; all they have to do is establish that the investment firm will be handled by competent parties. Gruhn went on to say that “The UK takes a relatively balanced approach.” He also argued that “many crypto firms are complaining ‘so much compliance,’ but it’s just because they are not used to it.”