The United Kingdom’s main financial regulator has said that all of the crypto ATMs operating in the country are illegal and has ordered the closure of Bitcoin ATMs across the country. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) pointed out that none of the ATMs are registered or providing evidence of complying with the U.K.’s anti-money laundering laws.
According to Coin ATM Radar, 81 Bitcoin ATMs from 8 companies are operational in the U.K. According to the FCA's termination notice, all of these ATMs are operating illegally.
“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.
The FCA said that it would be individually contacting ATM operators across Britain to cease operations or risk penalties.
The FCA has only approved 33 companies to conduct business operations in crypto, but none have obtained approval to set up a crypto ATM yet.
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“We regularly warn consumers that crypto-assets are unregulated and high-risk which means people are very unlikely to have any protection if things go wrong, so people should be prepared to lose all their money if they choose to invest in them,” the regulator added.
The FCA highlighted a recent case featuring Gidiplus, a company that offered crypto ATM services in the U.K., whose application was rejected on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence on "how Gidiplus would undertake its business in a broadly compliant fashion."
The move also follows on the heels of a crackdown on crypto advertisements in the U.K. last December, when the country’s top independent ad regulator criticized crypto firms for regularly breaching ethics rules around advertisements, including by peddling misleading and inaccurate information on digital assets.
Last year, $1.5 million worth of Floki Inu ads displayed on London buses came under investigation, as British politician Sian Berry labeled the ads "unsafe" and "high-risk."
"Like gambling ads, which we have finally got the mayor to remove, there is no way our public services should be used to advertise these unregulated, risky schemes to Londoners," Berry wrote on Twitter at the time.
Earlier this month, crypto billionaire and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao was also in the U.K. working on gaining regulatory approval for Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, after a series of missteps that caused the FCA to suspend its activity last June.