According to a letter released on Friday by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, bitcoin and other cryptocurrency ATMs that allow individuals to purchase and trade crypto are banned in the UK.
Anyone currently operating bitcoin ATMs is operating illegally and must cease operations immediately, according to the government authority.
Crypto ATMs offering crypto-asset exchange services in the UK must be registered and comply with UK Money Laundering Regulations,” according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s website.
“None of the crypto asset firms registered with us has been allowed to offer crypto ATM services,” the FCA stated. “This means that any crypto asset firms operating in the UK are doing so illegally, and consumers should not use them.”
It’s unclear how many bitcoin ATMs are currently operational in the United Kingdom, while Coin ATM Tracker reports there are currently 84 in the country. The same website lists over 34,000 crypto ATMs in the United States alone, the world’s greatest number.
“We are worried about crypto ATM machines functioning in the UK,” the FCA said in a statement. “
We’ll contact the operators and demand that the machines be turned off or we’ll take legal action. “Since we published the list of potentially operating unregistered crypto firms,” the FCA added, “a recent examination revealed that 110 are no longer operational.”
According to an excerpt from the Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom:
Gidiplus, a Bitcoin ATM operator, recently lost a judicial case that sought to overturn the FCA’s refusal to grant it a licence.
The company’s weaker identity checks on consumers depositing less than £250 had been warned by the regulator, who said there was a possibility of “smurfing,” in which a large number of “mules” deposit little amounts to avoid detection.
Gidiplus’s proprietor, Olumide Osunkoya, stated that his devices were no longer operating. He claimed that he had sold them to a buyer in Eastern Europe, where checks are less stringent, and that other UK operators are doing the same.
“We constantly warn consumers that crypto assets are unregulated and high-risk,” the FCA stated. “This means that people are highly unlikely to have any protection if things go wrong, so people should be prepared to lose all of their money if they choose to invest in them.”