UK bans bitcoin ATMs over money laundering concerns

 The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered the closure of all Bitcoin ATMs in the country. ATM providers have recently received orders from the watchdog to stop operations or risk facing enforcement action.

Bitcoin ATMs allow cash holders to independently convert their cash into Bitcoins or vice versa. Given that cash transactions are private, the proliferation of these machines has raised concerns that they could help facilitate cryptocurrency laundering.

According to Coin ATM Radar, there are currently only 80 Bitcoin ATMs in operation across the UK, compared to more than 32,000 in the US. Canada - home of the first ATM - has about 2,300 ATMs.

Most of the machines in the UK are located in supermarkets and convenience stores, for which the FCA has also made an announcement. Authorities stated that they had not licensed any ATM operators and were concerned that they were not providing enough background checks that online exchanges are usually required to perform.

Companies found operating these machines illegally can be subject to fines and criminal prosecution while being barred from other forms of financial business.

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