If they want to avoid legal action, the British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered all operators of crypto ATMs in the country to shut down their machines for consumers immediately.
Because of the UK Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs) and the lack of official clearance by the FCA, all Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrency cashpoints in the UK have been ruled illegal. On Friday, March 11, the financial watchdog issued a notice on its website, stating that:
“Crypto ATMs offering cryptoasset exchange services in the UK must be registered with us and comply with UK Money Laundering Regulations (MLR). None of the cryptoasset 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.”
According to the announcement, the UK Upper Tribunal recently rejected the crypto ATM operator Gidiplus’s petition to continue trading, citing a “lack of proof as to how GIdiplus would conduct its business in a broadly compliant manner.”
Meanwhile, the operator’s appeal against the FCA’s denial of its registration application under the MLRs is still pending.
Crypto ATMs under fire
According to Coin ATM Radar, there were 81 operational cryptocurrency ATMs in the UK at press time, with the majority of them being found in supermarkets and convenience stores. These businesses have also been warned to shut down their crypto-cash machines.
“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 FCA said.
Crypto ATMs allow users to deposit cash in exchange for the required cryptocurrency, and this amount can be further transferred to other online crypto wallets.
Consumers are regularly warned by the FCA about these “high-risk” digital assets, citing the lack of legal and financial protections “if things go wrong”.
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