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FCA Raids Businesses in Three UK Cities in Latest Crypto ATM Crackdown

Key Takeaways
  • The UK is cracking down on unauthorized crypto ATMs, while the US and Australia have seen a significant increase in their usage
  • Despite regulatory scrutiny, the popularity of crypto ATMs suggests that they have become an important part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem
FCA Raids Businesses

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been cracking down on the use of crypto ATMs, with raids taking place in three cities this week. 

The FCA requires all crypto ATMs to be authorized, citing concerns about links to organized crime and money laundering. Locally organized crime units assisted in the raids, which targeted businesses displaying unauthorized machines. The FCA has warned businesses that the unregistered use of crypto ATMs is illegal and will incur penalties.

On the other hand, some countries are adopting a significantly distinct approach toward crypto ATMs. The United States and Australia have seen a significant increase in the use of these machines, with the US alone hosting 84.6% of the global total. In fact, the number of Bitcoin ATMs in the US grew by a staggering 652% in just over three years.

Australia now boasts 398 crypto ATMs, surpassing the total number in all of Asia. While North America is home to the overwhelming majority of machines, with 31,670, representing 93.2% of the total.

Despite this surge in usage, regulatory bodies in these countries have not taken a laissez-faire approach. In the US, ATM vendors must register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and machines have a daily maximum withdrawal limit of $3,000. 

The UK appears to be diverging significantly from other advanced economies and financial systems when it comes to crypto ATMs. Following multiple crackdowns this year, the UK now has only 16 ATMs, according to Coin ATM Radar. According to the FCA website, nearly all financial firms in the UK must obtain authorization or registration.

While the use of crypto ATMs may be viewed with suspicion by some regulatory bodies, their popularity in other countries suggests that they have become an increasingly important part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. As the use of cryptocurrencies continues to grow, we can expect further regulatory scrutiny of these machines, but it remains to be seen how different countries will approach this issue.

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