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UK orders closure of all Bitcoin ATMs says they are operating Illegally

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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Reports have revealed that the United Kingdom’s major financial regulator has stated that all crypto ATMs in the country are illegal, and has ordered the closure of all Bitcoin and crypto ATMs in the country.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated that none of the ATMs are registered or provide proof of compliance with anti-money laundering rules in the United Kingdom.

According to Coin ATM Radar, there are 81 Bitcoin ATMs in the United Kingdom, operated by eight different companies. All of these ATMs are functioning unlawfully, according to the FCA’s termination letter released.

“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 U.K. are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them.”

The FCA said it would contact ATM operators individually across the UK to ask them to stop operating or face penalties. Only 33 organizations have been licensed by the FCA to conduct business in cryptocurrency, but none have yet been approved to open a crypto ATM.

However, on the other hand, the FCA further maintained that: “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 FCA cited a recent example involving Gidiplus, a firm that provided crypto ATM services in the United Kingdom, whose application was denied due to a lack of proof on how Gidiplus will conduct its business in a broadly legal manner.

The move comes after a crackdown on crypto marketing in the United Kingdom last December, when the country’s top independent ad regulator chastised crypto firms for routinely breaking advertising ethical guidelines, including peddling misleading and false information about digital assets.

Last year, the commercials for the Floki Inu, which were displayed on London buses for $1.5 million, were investigated when British MP Sian Berry deemed them hazardous and high-risk.

Then, Berry wrote on Twitter that, there is no way our public resources should be used to sell these unregulated, unsafe scams to Londoners, as we have finally gotten the mayor to remove gambling adverts.

Changpeng Zhao, the founder, and CEO of Binance, was in the United Kingdom earlier this month to work on securing a regulatory license for Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, following a series of errors that forced the FCA to stop its activity last June.

While the United Kingdom opposes Bitcoin and crypto ATMs, Spain remains the first country in Europe to introduce cryptocurrency ATMs.

Not only that, according to Coin ATM Radar’s statistics, Spain has the third-most Bitcoin ATMs in the world, with 221 deployed machines, behind Canada with 2390 and the United States with 32498.

Bitnovo and Eurocoin applications reportedly announced intentions earlier this year to jointly build a further 100 Bitcoin and crypto ATMs in Spain by 2022.

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