Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are becoming increasingly common as a means of investment and financial exchange in recent years. But the advent of these digital assets has also sparked unlawful activity, with thieves increasingly using crypto ATMs to launder money and carry out nefarious business.
The UK’s banking watchdog has launched its most recent crypto ATM crackdown in response to this growing threat, with an emphasis on London, where many of these machines are situated. The regulator is committed to putting an end to the use of these ATMs throughout the nation and has taken a strong position against utilising them for illegal purposes.
UK Tightens Scrutiny on Crypto
Some nations have had to enact strict rules as a result of the failure of Silvergate Bank and the SEC’s legal proceedings in the cryptocurrency field. Authorities in East London are cracking down on suspected illegal cryptocurrency ATMs as part of their increased attempts to disrupt unregistered and high-risk enterprises.
In a coordinated operation, the police and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) raided a number of nearby sites. The FCA declared on Wednesday that it is analysing evidence acquired from “a number of sites” and is considering taking additional action after the operation. This action comes just one month after the FCA began a similar campaign in Leeds, another northern English city.
The checks were conducted by the authorities in accordance with the money laundering legislation, which give police the right to enter a location without a search warrant, observe activity, inquire about specific documents or pieces of information, and take copies.
Anyone can buy or convert money into crypto assets using cryptocurrency ATMs, or CATMs. Nevertheless, since there are no CATM operators licenced with the FCA, any use of these machines in the UK would be against the law on the fight against money laundering.
FCA May Soon Shut Down Crypto ATMs
The FCA has long warned consumers that because cryptocurrencies are unregulated, they run the risk of losing all of their money. The FCA issued a warning to CATM operators last year, telling them to turn off their equipment or risk further investigation.
Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at crypto brokerage Globalblock, said:
“It is very possible that they are going under the radar. But there is also definitely an element of fear and uncertainty about what the FCA is going to do next.”
Although while the crackdown on crypto ATMs may be perceived as a setback for the cryptocurrency sector, it is an essential step in preventing unlawful activity and ensuring the security and safety of the financial system. Additionally, the regulator’s actions will ensure that digital currencies are only utilised for legal purposes and help increase user confidence and trust in their use.
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