UK FCA cracks down on unregistered crypto ATMs yet again
- UK FCA targeted locations suspected of operating unlicensed crypto ATMs.
- The enforcement action followed similar recent operations in East London and Leeds.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the United Kingdom’s financial regulator, has announced the inspection of sites across the country suspected of hosting illegally operating crypto ATMs.
The FCA announced on 5 May that it has worked with local authorities in Exeter, Nottingham, and Sheffield to raid locations suspected of operating unlicensed crypto ATMs.
The enforcement action followed similar operations in East London in March and near Leeds in February, in which the FCA claimed it issued warnings or cease-and-desist letters to suspected crypto ATM operators.
“The action we’ve taken over the past few months and wider work shows that we will act to stop illegal activity,” said Therese Chambers, executive director of enforcement and market oversight of FCA.
“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.”
Peter Highway, the Economic Crime Unit Manager at the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, emphasized the dangers of unlawful crypto ATM activities. He 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.”
UK crypto ATMs starts falling
In conducting the inspections, FCA officials highlighted their authority under the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations from 2017. The financial watchdog stated that it intended to analyze the material acquired and consider taking further action if necessary.
According to CoinATMRadar data, there were 17 crypto ATMS in the United Kingdom, operated by entities such as Big Sea Coins, BD ATMs, Cryptobitecoin, and Computer House. It is unknown if any were registered under the FCA.
As the FCA has begun taking measures against unlawful crypto ATM operators, the number of ATMs has fallen.