UK watchdog tells bitcoin ATMs to shut down

·2-min read
City watchdog tells bitcoin ATMs to shutdown
There are currently 81 functioning bitcoin ATMs in the UK. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered all bitcoin (BTC-USD) ATMs in the UK to shut down or face punishment.

There are currently 81 bitcoin ATMs operating in the UK, controlled by at least eight providers, none of which are licensed by the FCA.

Coin ATM Radar, which tracks these machines globally, shows that the majority of these bitcoin cashpoints are located inside supermarkets and convenience stores.

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The FCA said it had concerns over the background checks conducted by the machines, especially over smaller deposit amounts.

Bitcoin ATMs are appealing to crypto investors as they circumvent the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures common on cryptocurrency trading platforms.

The FCA said: “We have warned operators of crypto ATMs in the UK to shut their machines down or face enforcement action.

“Crypto ATMs offering cryptoasset exchange services in the UK must be registered with us and comply with UK money laundering regulations.

"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.

“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.”

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Unlike a normal ATM where people can draw money from their bank account, bitcoin ATMs allow customers to buy and exchange cryptocurrencies using cash.

Users deposit their cash and the machine converts it into crypto and sends the funds to the person’s bitcoin wallet.

There are now close to 34,000 cryptocurrency ATMs available globally, most of them in the US.

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