The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country’s financial watchdog, is pursuing unregistered bitcoin ATMs (ATMs).
The FCA and West Yorkshire Police’s cyber unit have started legal action against a number of locations in and around Leeds that are thought to be hosting crypto ATMs that are being run illegally.
The FCA noted that no cryptocurrency ATM operators in the United Kingdom currency have FCA registration when it made the announcement on February 14. All cryptocurrency exchange providers, including operators of cryptocurrency ATMs, were required to register with the FCA and adhere to U.K. money laundering laws, according to the regulator.
According to FCA’s executive director of enforcement Mark Steward, unregistered crypto ATMs operating in the U.K. are doing so unlawfully. He also stated that the regulator would keep up its efforts to shut down unregistered crypto firms there. The executive also warned investors to be ready to lose all of their money when investing in cryptocurrencies because they are currently unregulated and high-risk.
Police detective sergeant Lindsey Brants reports that local law enforcement officials have written warning letters to operators of cryptocurrency ATMs asking them to stop utilizing the devices. Any violation of the law would prompt a money-laundering probe, he continued.
Since there are at least 28 sites that offer Bitcoin ATMs in the United Kingdom, according to data from Coin ATM Radar, the FCA’s action against crypto ATMs would appear to have a significant impact on a number of ATM operators. The data reveals that more than 50% of these cryptocurrency ATM locations are found in London, with additional sites nearby Birmingham, Manchester, and Nottingham.
Though not the FCA’s first such move, the most recent assault against cryptocurrency ATMs in the U.K. The same body made a similar announcement regarding the removal of Bitcoin ATMs from the nation in March 2022, urging ATM owners to close down or risk further action.
As of this writing, the FCA has registered 41 cryptocurrency businesses in the UK, including sites like Gemini, Zodia Custody, Bitpanda, Revolut, and others.
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