Dr. Jonathan Levy

Dear The Financial Conduct Authority,

I am seeking aggregate summaries and or statistics of total complaints received and or cases opened in 2018 regarding crypto currencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.) and related matters such as initial crypto coin offerings and token offerings, and crypto trading scams.

I am seeking aggregate numbers of complaints and not identifying information for these categories:

crypto currencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.)

complaints about initial coin or token offerings crypto currencies

other complaints in which crypto currencies were a factor

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Jonathan Levy

The Financial Conduct Authority

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Freedom of Information, The Financial Conduct Authority

3 Atodiad

Our ref:         FOI6452

 

Dear Dr Levy

 

Freedom of Information: Right to know request

 

We refer to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the
Act”), received on 9 May 2019, for the following information:

 

“I am seeking aggregate summaries and or statistics of total complaints
received and or cases opened in 2018 regarding crypto currencies (Bitcoin,
Ethereum etc.) and related matters such as initial crypto coin offerings
and token offerings, and crypto trading scams.

 

I am seeking aggregate numbers of complaints and not identifying
information for these categories:

 

crypto currencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.)

 

complaints about initial coin or token offerings crypto currencies

 

other complaints in which crypto currencies were a factor”

 

Before I respond to your request, I feel it may be beneficial to explain
that the FCA as an organisation does not process general complaints unless
they are complaints directly against the FCA and which meet the
requirements of the FCA’s complaints scheme, “Complaints against the
regulators”. We would therefore refer any complainant or enquirer who
expresses dissatisfaction in relation to firms or individuals within the
financial services sector to the Financial Ombudsman Service. You may find
it helpful to visit the Financial Ombudsman Service website at
[1]http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk for more information.

 

Turning now to your request, as explained above we do not deal with
general complaints and therefore do not hold a central record whereby an
expression of dissatisfaction may have been received. Whilst our Customer
Contact Centre (CCC) retains a record of all contacts, it will be
difficult for us to locate an accurate number for how many of those
contacts contain an expression of dissatisfaction without undertaking
extensive searches. Therefore to answer your request would exceed the cost
limit provided for in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection
(Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, therefore Section 12 (Cost
of compliance exceeds appropriate limit) of the Act applies. For a
detailed explanation as to why this exemption applies please refer to
Annex A.

 

Please note that, when we refuse a request because the appropriate limit
has been exceeded, it is our general policy to provide advice and
assistance to the applicant to indicate how the request could be refined
or limited to come within the cost limit. In this case we are unable to
think of any suggestion of how the request could be refined or limited to
come within the cost limit.

 

Further, in reaching the conclusion that your request exceeds the
appropriate cost limit, we have not considered whether any other
exemptions apply.

 

If you are unhappy with the decision made in relation to your request, you
have the right to request an internal review. If you wish to exercise this
right you should contact the Information Disclosure Team within 40 working
days of the date of this response.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you also
have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF.  Telephone: 01625 545 700.  Website: [2]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Disclosure Team / Cyber and Information Resilience Department
/ Operations

[3]Description: cid:image001.png@01D2A7C9.64DDD390

12 Endeavour Square

London

E20 1JN

 

[4]www.fca.org.uk

 

Follow us:

 

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image003

 

 

 

Annex A

 

•      Section 12 (Costs of compliance exceeds appropriate limit)

 

The Act requires us to comply with a request, unless it would be too
expensive to do so, as estimated in accordance with the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004 (“the Regulations”) made by the Ministry of Justice.  The Regulations
provide that, for the FCA, the cost limit is £450, i.e. 18 hours at the
rate of £25 per person hour.  The Regulations allow us to take into
account, when estimating the cost of complying with a request, time spent
determining whether we hold the information requested, locating and
retrieving it and extracting the information from the relevant
document(s).

 

For the period in question the FCA’s CCC received a high volume of
enquiries. In order to determine which of these enquiries can be
considered as expressions of dissatisfaction rather than mere enquiries,
we would need to manually check each individual enquiry to answer your
request. As an indication of the work involved we have established there
were 1560 enquiries relating to the case items for ‘Bitcoins’, ‘Crypto
assets’, ‘ICO's’, ‘Cryptocurrencies (Investment
Products)’,’Cryptocurrencies (Scams)’. We would then need to manually
check each of these enquiries to see if they were an expression of
dissatisfaction. Further as there is no case type for ‘Ethereum’ we under
took keyword searches using the following keywords ‘token offerings’
‘Ethereum’ ‘Bitcoin’ ‘Crypto currencies’ ‘Initial coin offering’ ‘Token
offering’ and returned a further 708 enquiries that we would need to
manually check each of these enquiries to see if they were an expression
of dissatisfaction

 

In this context, we estimate that it would take well in excess of 18 hours
to undertake this work and would exceed the £450 limit.  Since our policy
is not to divert our resources from our regulatory functions in order to
meet requests under the Act in excess of the cost limit, we will not be
carrying out this exercise.

 

 

 

 

This communication and any attachments may contain personal information.
For more information about how and why we use personal information and who
to contact with any queries about this, please see our privacy notices:
FCA Privacy Notice (https://www.fca.org.uk/data-protection) and PSR
Privacy Notice
(https://www.psr.org.uk/cookies-privacy-a...).

This communication and any attachments contain information which is
confidential and may be subject to legal privilege. It is for intended
recipients only. If you are not the intended recipient you must not copy,
distribute, publish, rely on or otherwise use it without our consent. Some
of our communications may contain confidential information which it could
be a criminal offence for you to disclose or use without authority. If you
have received this email in error please notify [email address]
immediately and delete the email from your computer. Further information
on the classification and handling of FCA information can be found on the
FCA website
(http://www.fca.org.uk/site-info/legal/fc...).

The FCA (or, if this email originates from the Payment Systems Regulator
Limited, the FCA on behalf of the Payment Systems Regulator Limited / the
Payment Systems Regulator Limited) reserves the right to monitor all email
communications for compliance with legal, regulatory and professional
standards.

This email is not intended to nor should it be taken to create any legal
relations or contractual relationships. This email has originated from the
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or the Payment Systems Regulator
Limited.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 1920623. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

The Payment Systems Regulator Limited is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 8970864. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

Switchboard 020 7066 1000

Web Site http://www.fca.org.uk (FCA); http://www.psr.org.uk (the Payment
Systems Regulator Limited)

References

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2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
4. http://www.fca.org.uk/
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