In a coordinated effort to stop money laundering and illegal activity in the cryptocurrency industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other law enforcement agencies have taken action against unlicensed cryptocurrency ATMs in the United Kingdom. Of the 34 cryptocurrency ATMs it has examined since the start of 2023, the FCA has shut down operations of 26.
This crackdown follows the FCA’s ultimatum issued on February 14 to all crypto ATM operators in the UK, warning them to either comply with regulations or face legal consequences. Following this, the regulator launched, in conjunction with other law enforcement organizations, investigations against 36 crypto ATM sites under the money laundering provisions.
The FCA made it clear that running cryptocurrency ATMs without the required registration is illegal. In a tweet, the FCA emphasized its commitment to taking action against such illicit activities, stating:,
“The action we’ve taken over the past few months and wider work shows that we will act to stop illegal activity.”
In the same vein, Joint Executive Director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, Steve Smart spoke out against the use of all crypto ATMs, warning users that they are potentially handing their money over to criminals. He stressed that victims of scams involving these ATMs would not receive government or operator protection.
Through May and June, as the FCA publicly announced its inspection drive, a total of 18 locations were inspected. This comprehensive effort aims to ensure that all crypto exchanges and ATMs in the UK are registered with the FCA and fully compliant with the country’s money laundering regulations.
In a recent report by the Clive Police Department on July 8, a crypto scammer exploited an unsuspecting victim by impersonating a law enforcement official. The scammer misrepresented himself as law enforcement, threatening the victim with an arrest warrant, and managed to steal $6,000 through a crypto ATM.
The crackdown on illegal crypto ATMs underscores the commitment of the FCA and other law enforcement agencies to maintain the integrity of the cryptocurrency industry in the UK.