Top Solana protocols geofence UK users amid regulatory uncertainty

Reports emerged that Solana LSP Marinade Finance and Solana-based DEX Orca Finance had both geoblocked UK users


DIAMOND VISUALS/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Two of the largest and most structurally important Solana DeFi protocol frontends have geofenced UK users.

The developments come amid continued uncertainty regarding the regulatory requirements of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country’s finance markets regulator. 

Frontends are web portals commonly used to interact with DeFi protocols, and are often maintained by the protocol development teams. In recent months, frontends have become a focal point for crypto regulation — and the geofencing moves highlight how they may act as a point of centralization for the industry. 

Reports emerged on Monday that Solana liquid staking provider Marinade Finance and Solana-based DEX Orca Finance had both geoblocked UK users. The blocks were first reported by CoinDesk. 

Using a VPN, Blockworks attempted to access Marinade Finance from a UK IP address, and was met with a message saying “Access to this site is unavailable in the United Kingdom due to compliance concerns relating to rules and regulations promulgated by the UK Finance Conduct Authority.” 

The text went on to note that users could still “withdraw liquidity, claim delayed tickets or delay unstake” using the protocols SDK. 

When attempting to access Orca Finance’s site, Blockworks encountered an identical message. 

According to data from DeFiLlama, Solana accounts for $1.2 billion in total value locked (TVL). Marinade Finance, Solana’s largest liquid staking project, has $243 million in TVL, while Orca, the chain’s largest DEX, has $48.5 million in TVL. 

Binance UK announced last week that it would stop accepting new customers, citing FCA warnings issued to a partner firm. Additionally, earlier in October the FCA issued warnings to 146 unregistered crypto firms regarding new promotional and advertising rules

The FCA said in February that roughly 15% of applicant firms are successful in registering. 

Orca and Marinade are not the only protocols to geofence specific user populations in recent months. 

Celestia announced in September that Americans would be banned from claiming the project’s TIA token, and dapps such as 1inch have geofenced American users since as far back as 2021. 

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