The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is cracking down on the use of crypto ATMs, as evidenced by raids in three cities. However, there are other countries that take an entirely different approach. Even as some seek to link them to money laundering and stop using them, crypto ATMs are increasingly common in the US and Australia.
The FCA has announced yet another crackdown on crypto ATMs in the country. This week it carried out raids in Exeter, Nottingham and Sheffield.
There are no crypto ATMs without FCA approval.
The United Kingdom prohibits the operation of cryptocurrency ATMs in the absence of an official license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Officials link its use to organized crime. In this week’s law enforcement action, local organized crime units in the area took part in the raids in a joint operation targeting unauthorized use.
Peter Highway, Economic Crime Unit Director for the Southwest Regional Organized Crime Unit (SWROCU), He said“Criminals will use encrypted ATMs to launder illegally obtained money, so we’ve been pleased to help our FCA colleagues target businesses in the region that are offering these machines without permission.”
The head of economic crime at the Yorkshire and Humber regional organized crime unit said they were a “key component in facilitating money laundering”.
Financial Conduct Authority warned The companies said in March that unregistered use of encrypted ATMs was illegal and would be subject to penalties. The watchdog has published a list of financial companies suspected of operating illegally and unauthorized. They include those who operate cryptocurrency ATMs.
UK regulators do not take a hands-off approach. As the FCA website reminds people, the authority requires almost all financial firms in the UK to be licensed or registered.
After several crackdowns this year, the UK currently has just 16 ATMs, according to ATM radar for coins.
The UK’s different approach
In its stance on cryptocurrency ATMs, the UK is in a very different place to other developed economies and financial systems. Last month, the total number of cryptocurrency ATMs in Australia exceeded those across Asia, according to ATM radar for coins.
Australia now has 398, or 1.2% of the global total. But North America is home to the vast majority of machines, with 31,670, accounting for 93.2% of the total.
The United States is dominant, hosting 84.6% of the global total. By far, most of the machines are located in American cities. Canada and Australia rank second and third.
In the United States, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs has exploded in recent years. The number of Bitcoin ATMs reached 4,212 in January 2020, which represents a 652% growth in just over three years.
But this does not mean that the use of cryptocurrency ATMs in America is not regulated. The rules are rather strict. Sellers of ATMs in the United States are required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The machines in the country have a daily withdrawal limit of $3,000.
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