The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned crypto exchange services to shut down their crypto ATMs or face legal action.
Bitcoin ATMs first appeared in 2014 and their popularity increased greatly throughout 2020 and 2021. Their popularity attracted swindlers as well as the UK government’s negative attention.
The UK hasn’t been particularly welcoming towards crypto or its ATMs. Even before crypto ATMs became popular, the UK released a notice in 2019 including ATMs under the Anti Money Laundering (AML) requirements, as well as all crypto exchanges.
AML requirements held its subjects responsible for conveying a KYC process by collecting users’ names, official IDs, dates of birth and residential addresses.
According to FCA, there are no cryptoasset firms operating in the UK, offering ATM services, that are compliant with the AML. A recent post from FCA states:
“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.”
The post continues with FCA’s warning about shutting all illegal ATM machines down:
“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.”
The FCA also published a list of unregistered crypto firms, to inform their users of their existence. Since the list was published, 110 firms shut down their operations in the UK.
The ATMs that did try their chances at registering with FCA, had no luck, with zero applications being accepted.
The most recent example is a firm offering crypto ATM services is called Gidiplus, owned by Olumide Osunkoya and his wife Sallu Osunkoya, Gidiplus who applied for registration with FCA on 22 June 2022.
Even though Gidiplus complied with the KYC requirements of AML, the FCA still rejected their application by stating that there was a “lack of evidence as to how Gidiplus would undertake its business in a broadly compliant fashion.”
The reports show that this rejection was decided due to:
“The risk that the applicant’s business may be used for money laundering or terrorist financing.”