• The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has raided crypto ATMs suspected of illegally operating across England.
• The FCA issued warnings or cease-and-desist requests to suspected crypto ATM operators and is reviewing evidence collected during the raids.
• The operations have raised awareness among the public about the risks associated with unregulated crypto ATMs.
UK Cracks Down on Crypto ATMs
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been cracking down on illegal crypto ATMs in England, taking action against those suspected of operating without necessary registration. Collaborating with other law enforcement agencies, such as South Regional Organized Crime Unit (SWROCU), Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organized Crime Unit (YH ROCU), and Nottinghamshire police force, they conducted joint operations at sites across England.
Illegal Crypto ATM Operators
Using its powers under money laundering regulations, the FCA issued warnings or cease-and-desist requests to suspected crypto ATM operators. There were over 15 crypto ATMs in the UK at the time of the FCA’s crackdown according to CoinATMRadar data, operated by companies such as Big Sea Coins, BD ATMs, Cryptobitecoin, and Computer House – though it is unclear if these operators had been registered by FCA as required by law.
Evidence Collection & Review
The FCA announced that it would review evidence collected during their raids in April in Exeter, Nottingham, and Sheffield before considering further action. They are also looking into whether or not any money laundering activities have taken place involving these ATMs.
Raising Awareness Amongst Public
The FCA’s efforts have also raised awareness among the public about the risks associated with unregulated crypto ATMs. Peter Highway from SWROCU said “Criminals will use crypto ATMS to launder illegally obtained cash” while Ramona Senior from YH ROCU added that “machines such as these are a key component for criminal activity”.
Commitment To Stopping Criminal Activity
Therese Chambers from the Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA stated that all unregistered cryptos ATM operators are illegal and that their actions demonstrate their commitment to stopping criminal activity.