The U.K’s Financial Watchdog Mandates Bitcoin ATM Operators to Shutter Operations

The U.K’s Financial Watchdog Mandates Bitcoin ATM Operators to Shutter Operations

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made it clear via a March 11, 2022 statement on its website, that it has not given any bitcoin (BTC) ATM operator the go-ahead to function in the United Kingdom, and as such all operators of bitcoin ATMs within the country must close shop or face enforcement action.

FCA Order Closure of Bitcoin ATMs in the U.K. In a rather unfortunate scenario for bitcoin (BTC) automated teller machine operators in the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country’s top regulatory watchdog, has ordered the operators of cryptocurrency ATMs to shut down their machines with immediate effect or face enforcement action. According to a statement on the agency’s website, it is mandatory for crypto ATMs facilitating the exchange of bitcoin and altcoins in the U.K. to be registered with the FCA, while also operating in compliance with the statutes of the nation’s Money Laundering Regulations (MLR). However, the FCA has stated categorically that none of the companies in charge of these bitcoin ATMs have successfully secured approval from it, enabling them to offer crypto ATM services and as such, all operators of bitcoin ATMs in the U.K are illegal and must be boycotted by consumers. The FCA wrote:
“Crypto ATMs rendering cryptoasset exchange services in the UK must be registered with us and comply with UK Money Laundering Regulations (MLR). None of the cryptoasset firms registered with us have been approved to offer crypto ATM services, meaning that any of them operating in the UK are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them.”
FCA Wary of Crypto ATMs As of March 7, 2022, a total of 106 bitcoin-related businesses have applied for registration with the FCA. Out of that number, 27 are now fully registered with the agency, while the filings of 56 firms have either been rejected by the regulator or withdrawn by the enterprises themselves. The remaining 23 firms have managed to come under the umbrella of the agency’s Temporary Registration Regime (TRR). First introduced in December 2020, TRR is designed to give crypto-focused businesses a grace period to continue their regular operations until they secure the necessary licenses from the regulator. Notably, the FCA made reference to Gidiplus, a crypto ATM operator whose registration application got rejected by the agency. However, the firm was unsatisfied with the FCA’s decision and had to file a lawsuit, requesting for a TRR to be granted pending its appeal. In the end, the presiding judge Timothy Herrington dismissed the case on grounds that Gidiplus failed to provide enough evidence as to how it would undertake its crypto ATM business in a broadly compliant manner pending determination of its appeal.
“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,” added the FCA.
As seen on Coin ATM Radar, there are a total of 81 Bitcoin ATMs currently operating in the United Kingdom.