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Police crackdown on illegal crypto ATMs expands to London

crypto ATMs London
Image credit: StreetVJ via Shutterstock

UK authorities have continued a crackdown on illegal crypto ATMs with an investigation into several sites in London that are suspected of hosting the unregistered technology.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been working with regional police services to conduct investigations into illegal crypto ATMs throughout 2023. The financial watchdog supported a raid by West Yorkshire Police on several sites in Leeds back in February and has now extended its investigation into the capital.

The FCA has joined forces with the Metropolitan Police to inspect sites in East London suspected of hosting crypto ATMs, which are physical locations similar to normal ATMs, used to purchase cryptoassets.

As the FCA has not sanctioned the technology, any crypto ATMs operating in the UK are illegal, the regulator said.

“Crypto ATMs operating without FCA registration are illegal and, as today shows, we will take action to stop this,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.

“This operation, alongside last month’s action in Leeds, sends a clear message that we will continue to identify and disrupt unregistered crypto businesses in the UK.”

Steward reiterated the position the regulator has taken for some time on the wider cryptoasset industry.

“Crypto products are not currently regulated, and they are high risk,” he said. “You should be prepared to lose all your money if you invest in them.”