The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it has started taking enforcement actions against unregistered crypto ATM operators in the region.
Globally, there are about 38450 ATMs that allow users to withdraw their crypto directly for cash, across over 80 countries. Specifically for the U.K., about 28 ATMs have been installed, Coin ATM Radar data shows.
However, the FCA reported that none of the ATMs operating in the U.K.. are legal as they have failed to comply with the regulation guideline.
The regulatory agency said it had previously warned the illegal crypto ATM operators to shut down their services or face enforcement action.
The FCA said Feb. 14 that it has partnered with the West Yorkshire Police Intelligence unit to identify and disrupt the activities of all illegal crypto operators in the region.
The joint operation identified the locations of illegal crypto ATMs across West Yorkshire. The ATM operators would face investigation under money laundering regulations.
FCA executive Mark Steward said that crypto businesses in the U.K. must be registered with the FCA for anti-money laundering purposes, as the agency will continue to identify and disrupt illegal crypto businesses.
FCA going tough on crypto
The FCA said that crypto assets are high-risk investments, hence the need to be regulated like similar traditional markets. It warned that crypto firms that fail to comply it its financial promotions regime could face up to two years of imprisonment.
FCA Chair Ashley Alder also stated that his administration would be strict on crypto business in the U.K., as many firms deliberately facilitate money laundering.