The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of Britain has declared all Bitcoin ATMs illegal in the UK, demanding operators immediately cease operations. Once again, citing “money laundering” issues as the reason for the heavy-handed approach, the FCA has said it will take action against any owners of the machines, saying that the ATMs offering exchange services must be registered and comply with money laundering regulations.
There are a small handful of Bitcoin ATM operators in the UK, with most of the machines being located in convenience stores and some supermarkets. Recently, one operator Gidiplus lost a judicial review which was an attempt by the company to overturn a previous FCA decision denying it a license to operate in Britain, with the judges saying they did not see sufficient evidence that the company would be able to “undertake its business in a broadly compliant fashion.”
Bitcoin ATMs illegal because …. money laundering yeh!
The regulator claimed that it has decided to declare Bitcoin ATMs illegal because of concerns over identity and background checks, especially when it came to smaller deposits. Essentially, the regulator doesn’t like the fact that Bitcoin ATMs allow users to invest in cryptocurrency without having to provide identity documentation, thus effectively circumventing KYC/AML (know your customer and anti money laundering) checks which are routing on all centralized exchanges.
But as we have pointed out before in this publication, the problem with centralized exchanges is that they really don’t provide any protection for investors, with governments and platforms able to seize the assets of users whenever they feel like it, including for some very spurious reasons.
Recently, the Canadian government demanded that cryptocurrency exchanges freeze the accounts of people who had donated to the Freedom trucker convoy, and in the last couple of weeks, some exchanges have been told they must target Russian customers who have nothing to do with the war in Ukraine, but were clearly guilty by association, in one of the most blatantly racist attacks on citizens by a state in the last hundred years or so.
Previously, the FCA had not looked kindly on the Bitcoin ATMs, with only 33 companies on its approved register, and two thirds of these only operating under a temporary license which was due to expire at the end of March 2022 anyway.
“Crypto ATMs offering cryptoasset exchange services in the UK must be registered with us and comply with UK money laundering regulations,” the regulator says, going on to note that “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.”
Remember, everyone, it’s important to understand that government demands you citizens continue to use their junk bond fiat currency at all times, allowing you to be tracked and switched off if you misbehave. The only practical hedge against this is crypto.
“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.”Financial Conduct Authority, UK statement.
Bitcoin ATMs operate almost in reverse to the way normal fiat ‘hole in the wall’ (British colloquial slang for an ATM) works, as they collect fiat from the user, and convert it into Bitcoin (after taking a fee of course). The FCA believes the unscrupulous criminals will be thwarted from any of the myriad of ways to launder money which doesn’t involve cryptocurrency.
Once again, the British government, in making Bitcoin ATMs illegal, has demonstrated that it is utterly intolerant of anyone being their own bank, and we must all continue to be tracked, traced and ultimately regulated to death, and we the people don’t get a say in it.