Crypto ATMs are not permitted to operate in the United Kingdom, according to banking authorities.
If they want to avoid legal action, the British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered all operators of cryptocurrency ATMs in the country to shut down their machines for consumers immediately.
Because of the UK Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs) and the lack of official clearance by the FCA, all Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrency cashpoints in the UK have been ruled illegal.
On Friday, March 11, the financial watchdog issued a notice on its website saying,
“Crypto ATMs offering 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.”
Based on the announcement, the UK Upper Tribunal recently rejected the crypto ATM operator Gidiplus's petition to continue trading, citing a "lack of proof as to how GIdiplus would conduct its business in a broadly compliant manner."
Meanwhile, the operator's appeal against the FCA's denial of its registration application under the MLRs is still pending.
According to Coin ATM Radar, there were 81 operational cryptocurrency ATMs in the UK at press time, with the majority of them being found in supermarkets and convenience stores. These businesses have also been warned to shut down their crypto-cash machines.
"We are concerned about the operation of crypto ATM machines in the UK and will be contacting the operators to request that the machines be taken down or face further action," the FCA stated.
Users can deposit cash at crypto ATMs in return for the appropriate cryptocurrency, which can then be transferred to other online crypto wallets.
The FCA warns consumers about these "high-risk" digital assets on a frequent basis, stressing a lack of legal and financial protections "if things go wrong."