All “crypto ATMs” need to shut down or face further action, UK regulators have warned.
Such machines allow people to buy cryptocurrencies in the same way they use a traditional cash machine – putting in a bank card and receiving digital coins in return.
There are as many as 80 of them in the UK, according to tracking website Coin ATM Radar. The same site estimates there are more than 36,000 of them across the world, in 76 countries.
All of those that can be found in the UK are illegal, however, the Financial Conduct Authority said.
Anyone who is offering the exchange of money for cryptocurrencies must be registered with the regulators and comply with the UK’s money laundering regulations.
Since none of the registered firms have been approved to offer such crypto ATM services, “any of them operating in the UK are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them”, the FCA said.
The FCA said that it was “concerned” about any crypto ATM machines that are still operating and that it will get in touch with any operators, telling them to shut the machines down “or face further action”.
The crackdown on such machines comes amid a broader focus by the FCA on finding unregistered firms offering cryptocurrency services. It published a large list of businesses that it thinks have been conducting such activities – and said that 110 of them are no longer in operation.
It also warned investors once again that they could face high risks in buying cryptocurrencies.
“We regularly warn consumers that cryptoassets are unregulated and high-risk which means people are very unlikely to have any protection if things go wrong, so people should be prepared to lose all their money if they choose to invest in them,” it said.
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