The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has declared Bitcoin ATMs illegal.
At the beginning of March 2022, the fleet of crypto ATMs installed in the UK consisted of 81 units. Most of them work in convenience stores and supermarkets.
According to the FCA, the ATMs are operated by at least eight operators, but none hold any approval of providing ATM services in the UK from FCA. All operators have been ordered to turn off the machines and remove them from retail outlets.
All Bitcoin cashpoints in Britain have been ordered to shut down after the City watchdog declared them illegal. The Financial Conduct Authority has written to providers of cryptocurrency ATMs telling them to cease operations or face enforcement action.
“Crypto ATMs offering cryptoasset exchange services in the UK must be registered with us and comply with UK money laundering regulations. 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. 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.”
Facing pressure from British officials, large companies such as Celsius and Bitpanda have already moved their head offices from the UK to the US. Blockchain.com’s chief executive criticized the FCA, saying the regulator’s stance means the UK is lagging behind Europe in terms of innovation and cryptocurrencies.