UK’s FCA Takes Legal Action Against Unlawful Crypto ATM Operators

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Key takeaways:

  • According to the UK FCA, no operator of cryptocurrency ATMs had registered with it, making their operations unlawful in the nation.
  • The regional police and the regulator collaborated to audit Exeter, Sheffield, and Nottingham sites.

Due to the threat, they pose to money laundering, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom is taking action against illicit cryptocurrency ATMs operating there.

The regional police and the regulator collaborated to audit the sites in Exeter, Sheffield, and Nottingham, according to a statement released on May 5. Crypto ATMs are permitted, but they must register with the relevant authorities before operating.

The financial watchdog noted that as no operators of crypto ATMs were registered with it, their operations were prohibited in the nation. According to Therese Chambers, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight:

“Crypto ATMs operating without FCA registration are illegal. We will act to stop illegal activity. Besides disrupting unregistered crypto businesses, the joint efforts have helped raise awareness of illegally operated crypto ATMs in the UK among the public.”

Peter Highway, the manager of the South West Regional Organized Crime Unit’s Economic Crime Unit, emphasized the risk posed by the unlawful use of cryptocurrency ATMs. Roadway stated:

“Criminals will use crypto ATMs to launder illegally obtained cash, so we were pleased to assist our colleagues at the FCA in targeting businesses in the region displaying these machines without authorization.”

People can purchase or convert money into crypto assets using crypto ATMs. There are no FCA-registered crypto ATM operators, which is required for their lawful operation.

The FCA claims that it is examining the evidence obtained during the inspection. The regulator did not elaborate on how it would proceed after that. There are presently 17 cryptocurrency ATMs in the nation, with locations in Birmingham, London, and Manchester, according to Coin ATM Radar, despite lacking the proper authorization to do business there.

In the meantime, this indicates a significant drop from its figures as of March 2022. Around 81 Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs/Tellers were available at the time, scattered across the nation. Since the FCA started taking action against operators of unauthorized crypto ATMs, the number of ATMs has gradually decreased.

The UK government recently launched a consultation to solicit ideas for how to tax category DeFi lending and staking. The administrative burden on users has been reduced, and the financial foundation of crypto assets is better reflected as a result.

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