Crypto ATMs in the UK have faced the wrath of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It’s been revealed that 26 ATMs have been shut following a coordinated investigation into machines illegally offering cryptocurrencies across the country.
The regulatory watchdog revealed the data in a report published today. The move is a response to multiple incidents where people lost their cash after using crypto ATM transactions throughout the UK.
Back in February, the FCA gave a warning to all crypto ATM operators in the UK to comply with regulations or stop its illegal operations. Following this, the regulator, along with other law enforcement agencies, conducted an investigation on crypto ATM locations using powers under money-laundering regulations.
A total of 34 crypto ATMs have been visited and inspected since the start of 2023. FCA alleged that, out of this, 26 machines in different locations have been functioning illegally offering cryptocurrencies. It also warned investors that their money could be lost in dealing with these crypto ATMs during transactions.
The joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, Steve Smart, reiterated the dangers of illegal crypto ATMs by stating: “If you use a crypto ATM in the U.K., you are using a machine that is operating illegally and you may be handing your money over to criminals.”
He also highlighted that the public should be careful and vigilant while doing crypto transactions involving these machines as they “will not be protected” by the government or the operator of the machines if things go wrong.