The UK Monetary Conduct Authority (FCA) continued its crackdown on unlawful bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs) this week, investigating a number of websites in East London suspected of internet hosting unregistered machines. introduced.
The FCA introduced on March 8 that the monetary regulator will proceed to “determine and disrupt” unregistered crypto ATM companies within the UK by investigating a number of websites within the East London space with the Metropolitan Police. mentioned.
The newest improvement within the FCA’s ongoing battle towards illicit ATM operators follows the same raid in Leeds earlier this 12 months with West Yorkshire Police’s Digital Intelligence and Investigations Unit.
Decrypt has tried to contact operators and producers of Bitcoin ATMs working within the UK.
There was no response from Normal Bytes, one of many main producers of Bitcoin ATMs within the UK and all over the world. Normal Bytes holds 25.2% of the worldwide Bitcoin ATM market share and has essentially the most put in ATMs on this planet.
Kwik-Bit, a bitcoin ATM firm that beforehand operated within the London space, informed Decrypt that its ATMs have closed and are not in operation. Different Bitcoin ATM operators listed in London had been both unresponsive or unreachable from numbers on the listing, and a few had been disconnected.
In accordance with an FCA announcement in March 2022, Bitcoin ATMs at the moment working within the UK will not be registered with the related authorities, which means that every one Bitcoin ATMs within the UK are working illegally. enhance.
Mark Steward, FCA’s Govt Director of Enforcement and Market Surveillance, mentioned: “This operation, alongside the actions in Leeds final month, sends a transparent message that it’ll proceed to determine and disrupt unregistered crypto companies within the UK. I’ll ship.”
Bitcoin ATMs have exploded in recognition in 2021, coinciding with the surge within the cryptocurrency market in 2021, when the market capitalization of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the broader cryptocurrency rose to all-time highs. backside. Over the summer time of 2021, over 2,000 Bitcoin ATMs had been put in each month all over the world.
Nonetheless, that development has since reversed, with 1,054 Bitcoin ATMs closing in February-March 2023 alone.
In accordance with international knowledge from CoinATMRadar, there are at the moment 1,469 Bitcoin ATMs working within the European area, of which solely 18 are within the UK. There are 32,164 Bitcoin ATMs within the US alone, or 86% of the world whole.
The present Prime Minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak, set out a complete plan to make the UK a “international cryptocurrency know-how hub” in early 2022 whereas he was Finance Minister.
Since then, the UK Parliament has launched the Financial Crime and Company Transparency Invoice and expanded police powers to facilitate the “seizure, freeze and restoration” of crypto belongings to fight cash laundering.
A number of UK-based banks have stepped up their strategy to prospects’ use of cryptocurrencies following the collapse of FTX final 12 months, with many now refusing to course of cryptocurrency purchases.