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The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has told crypto ATM operators to shut down their machines or face enforcement action, per a statement released today.
The FCA added that cryptocurrency ATMs that offer crypto exchange services must be registered with the FCA, and also must comply with the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations.
“None of the crypto asset firms registered with us have been approved to offer crypto ATM services, meaning that any of them operating in the UK are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them,” the FCA said.
“We are concerned about crypto ATM machines operating in the UK and will therefore be contacting the operators instructing that the machines be shut down or face further action,” the regulator added.
ATMs, crypto, and the FCA
According to Coin ATM Radar, a website that tracks cryptocurrency ATMs around the world, a total of 81 cryptocurrency ATMs currently exist in the UK.
More than 50 of these machines are located in London, with Birmingham coming in second with nine cryptocurrency ATMs.
On a global scale, the UK just makes it into the top 10 countries in the world by cryptocurrency ATM count, trailing Romania with 124.
The United States is by far the world’s cryptocurrency ATM leader, with over 32,000 active ATMs in place today.
The FCA’s most recent warning on cryptocurrency ATMs is just the latest in a series of crackdowns relating to the broader crypto industry.
In January last year, the FCA issued a list of five concerns consumers should be aware of when dealing with cryptocurrencies, which related to consumer protection, price volatility, and misleading marketing material.
The FCA added that “if consumers invest in these types of products, they should be prepared to lose all their money.”
This warning was again reiterated in September 2021, by FCA CEO Nikil Rathi. The FCA also has concerns over specific firms in the crypto industry, including its largest exchange Binance.
The regulator previously told Decrypt it has a “huge issue” with Binance’s apparent lack of a headquarters, and in September last year said Binance’s UK entity was “not capable” of being regulated after it reportedly failed to provide basic information to the regulator.