Crypto ATMs that were being used unlawfully to transact cryptocurrencies were targeted by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and local law enforcement as part of an ongoing crackdown.
According to a statement released by the regulator on Friday, the Financial Conduct Authority conducted inspections at locations in Exeter, Nottingham, and Sheffield in an effort to put a stop to the illicit behavior.
“Crypto ATMs operating without FCA registration are illegal,” stated Therese Chambers, the Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight for the FCA, in a statement. “The actions that we’ve taken over the past few months and the wider work that we’ve done shows that we will act to stop illegal activity.”
Chambers referred to cryptocurrencies as high-risk investments and stated that regulations governing them do not yet exist.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated that the examinations were conducted in partnership with the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Organised Crime Unit, and the Nottinghamshire Police Force.
Peter Highway, the manager of the economic crime unit at the South West Regional Organized Crime Unit, stated that criminals use cryptocurrency ATMs to clean money that they have obtained unlawfully.
Following the inspections, the FCA stated that it would collect evidence and evaluate whether or not additional action should be taken.
People are able to buy cryptocurrency or convert money into cryptocurrency through crypto ATMs. However, the FCA reports that there are presently no crypto ATM operators registered with the agency.
According to Coin ATM Radar, there are 17 Bitcoin ATMs located in the United Kingdom.
According to that website, there are around 29,000 throughout the United States, the vast majority of which are located in major metropolitan areas, including Washington, DC, New York City, and Los Angeles.
In February, the Financial Conduct Authority conducted searches at a number of sites in and around Leeds on the suspicion that they contained illegal cryptocurrency ATMs.
According to the announcement made by the FCA at the time, those raids were thought to be a part of the first crackdown on illegal cryptocurrency ATMs in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has also taken a tough stance on other subsets of the cryptocurrency industry.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in February that all cryptocurrency companies that sell their products or services to consumers in the UK, including companies based in other countries, will be required to adhere to a new financial and promotional framework in the UK.
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