The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is cracking down on illegal crypto ATMs in the country, stating that they pose a money laundering threat.
According to a May 5 statement, the regulator worked with regional police to inspect Exeter, Sheffield, and Nottingham sites. While Crypto ATMs are legal, they must be registered with the authority before operating.
The financial regulator added that no crypto ATM operator was registered with it, making their operations illegal in the country,
FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, Therese Chambers, said:
“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. This is especially important as crypto products are high risk and not currently regulated.”
Meanwhile, the Economic Crime Unit Manager at the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, Peter Highway, highlighted the danger of the illegal operations of the crypto ATMs. Highway said:
“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.”
According to the FCA, it is reviewing evidence gathered from the inspection. The regulator did not provide further information on its next line of action.
Crypto ATMs operation in the U.K.
Despite their lack of authorization to operate in the country, Coin ATM Radar reports that there are currently 17 crypto ATMs in the countrylocated in Birmingham, London, and Manchester.
Meanwhile, this represents a steep decline from its numbers as of March 2022. At the time, there were around 81 Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs/Tellers in different locations in the country.
The ATMs have steadily declined as the FCA began enforcing actions against illegal crypto ATM operators.
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