UK tells operators to shut down crypto ATMs or face action

A man using a Bitcoin ATM

One of the easiest, and most anonymous, ways to buy Bitcoin in the UK is by heading to select stores and using a Bitcoin ATM where you simply deposit cash then get sent Bitcoin to your Bitcoin wallet. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is now ordering companies that run these ATMs to shut them down because they don’t implement Know Your Customer (KYC) measures that are designed to prevent money laundering.

To operate in the UK, crypto ATMs should be registered with the FCA and comply with UK Money Laundering Regulations (MLR). According to the FCA, none of the cryptoasset firms that have registered with it have been granted permission to operate ATMs so those that are operating are illegal and, the FCA said, customers should not be using them.

One of these firms, Gidiplus, appealed a decision by the FCA recently and the judge said that there was a “lack of evidence as to how Gidiplus would undertake its business in a broadly compliant fashion.” This decision adds weight to the FCA’s case against these ATMs and puts more pressure on them to close. The FCA is going to be contacting operators with instructions to stop operating the ATM machines and any that refuse will “face further action.”

Those who want to buy crypto in the UK can do so through many online platforms, most of which will require you to prove your identity so that you don’t launder money through those services. While the FCA allows these types of services, it warns that they are unregulated and high-risk so you’re not likely to be protected if things go wrong, therefore, any money you do invest, should be money you’re prepared to lose.

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