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In: Cryptocurrency

The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a continuation of its regulatory efforts against illegal crypto ATM operations in the UK. Since March, the FCA has ramped up its regulatory efforts on this illicit sector, citing its investigative powers under the Money Laundering Regulations Act of 2017.

FCA Conducts Latest Raid On Unregistered crypto ATMs

According to a crypto-atms-across-uk” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”>press release yesterday, the UK financial watchdog revealed its recent collaborative efforts with local authorities in shutting down unregistered crypto ATM operations in three cities, namely Exeter, Nottingham, and Sheffield.

Commenting on this development, Therese Chambers, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:

crypto ATMs operating without FCA registration are illegal. The action we’ve taken over the past few months and wider work shows that we will act to stop illegal activity.”

Chambers also noted the importance of these raids in raising awareness of the risk of illegal crypto ATMs, especially as the UK is still a region lacking a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and digital assets operation.

Meanwhile, there is also a strong belief that these undocumented machines are commonly used for money laundering, as highlighted by the Head of Economic Crime at the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organized Crime Unit (YH ROCU), Ramona Senior. 

He said, “Our Regional Cyber Crime Unit officers are pleased to work jointly with the Financial Conduct Authority and other partner agencies to target the use of unregulated crypto ATMs. Machines such as these are a key component in the facilitation of money laundering and the movement of funds acquired through criminal activity.”

Interestingly, this latest enforcement action by the FCA follows similar raids on illegal crypto ATMs in cities such as crypto-atms-east-london” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”>East London andcrypto-atm-operators-leeds” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”> Leeds. The regulatory agency has stated its intention to review its latest set of obtained evidence and take further actions if required.

crypto Total Market Cap valued at $1.176 Trillion | Source: TOTAL Chart on Tradingview.com

No Registered crypto ATMs In The UK – FCA 

As the name implies, crypto ATMs are machines that allow users to directly purchase digital assets using cash or a bank card. 

According to the FCA, crypto ATM operators are a form of crypto asset exchange providers and are required by law to be legally registered and provide full compliance with the UK Money Laundering Regulations. 

However, the UK regulatory authority states that no crypto asset firm in its books has been cleared to offer crypto ATM services, thus making any crypto ATM operations in the UK illegal.

In March, the FCA released a crypto-atms-operating-uk” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”>statement urging these businesses to close down their operations or risk facing enforcement actions. To that effect, the regulatory body even released a list of unregistered crypto firms aimed at guiding customers’ investments. 

That said, crypto ATM installations worldwide have been on a decline since the start of 2023. According to data by CoinATMRadar, over 3,600 ATMs have been removed or decommissioned from January 1st to date.

However, as expected, the United States remains the dominant force in this sector, hosting 28,754 crypto ATMs and accounting for a staggering 85% of the global market. 

Featured Image: Tokenist, chart from Tradingview

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