North East Connected

FCA and Met Police Continue Action against Bitcoin ATMs in East London

This week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the regulatory body of the UK, continued its crackdown against illegal Bitcoin ATMs in the country.

The FCA announced that a number of sites in East London had been inspected, which had been suspected of hosting unregistered Bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs).

The announcement

On March 8th, the financial regulator announced that with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police, a number of sites had been investigated.

It further asserted that it would continue identification and disruption of illegal crypto ATMs in the country.

Earlier this year, the FCA had conducted similar raids in Leeds with the assistance of the Digital Intelligence and Investigation Unit of the West Yorkshire Police.

Bitcoin ATM manufacturers

One of the prominent Bitcoin ATM manufacturers in Britain and the world is General Bytes, which has a 25.2% share of the Bitcoin ATMs.

It has the highest number of ATMs installed around the globe. But, the company has not responded to the ongoing situation.

Another Bitcoin company that had previously operated in London is Kwik-Bit, which said that it had closed its machine in the UK and it was not operational anymore.

No other Bitcoin ATM operators have issued a statement in response to the crackdown by the FCA against the ATMs.

The regulator

The FCA had announced last year in March that none of the Bitcoin ATMs in the country had been registered with the appropriate authorities.

This means that all Bitcoin ATMs that are currently operating in the UK are actually illegal. The FCA’s Mark Steward said that they intended to crackdown against all illegal machines.

It was in 2021 that Bitcoin ATMs had seen their popularity surge in light of the bull-run in the crypto space, but the trend has reversed since then.

In the summer of 2021 alone, about 2,000 Bitcoin ATMs had been installed per month all over the world. But, between February and March this year, a total of 1,054 Bitcoin ATMs were shut down.

There are only 18 Bitcoin ATMs currently operating in the UK, out of 1,469 that are operating in the European region.

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