The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a stern warning to operators of non-registered Bitcoin ATMs in the United Kingdom.
According to the U.K. financial watchdog, the operators of the ATMs would be contacted to affirm the notice to shut down the automated machines or face further actions.
According to statistics, there are 81 Bitcoin ATMs operated by different companies within the United Kingdom and out of this number, only 33 companies have been granted registration approval.
The regulatory body further said that the 33 companies have neither filed appropriate documents nor obtained licences to operate in the country. As such, the companies operating the remaining 48 Bitcoin ATMs are offering illegal services.
In the warning which came as a surprise to operators in the crypto industry, the FCA gave reasons for the warning to include a lack of regulatory structure, high-risk potential of fluctuating digital assets and upholding established principles of the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR).
The statement partly reads:
“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.”
In August 2020, the regulatory body gave approval to 33 companies under the Money Laundering Regulation guideline. Galaxy Digital LTD UK, Gemini Europe LTD Payward LTD and several other crypto-based companies were among those that received registration approval.
In January 2022, the FCA added eToro (UK) LTD to the list. Meanwhile, other companies such as Blockchain.com, Revolut, Wirex LTD and 18 others were granted temporary registration approval. And financial watchdog set aside March 31, 2022, to decide on the validity of the registration application.