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London's illicit cryptocurrency ATMs are targeted by the UK's financial watchdog.

Britain's markets regulator and the police have raided alleged illicit crypto cashpoints (ATMs) in east London as authorities intensify efforts to disrupt unregistered firms deemed to pose a high danger to consumers.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which launched a similar operation in the northern English city of Leeds last month, stated on Wednesday that it was assessing evidence acquired from "a number of sites" and could take additional action.

The inspections were done in accordance with regulations against money laundering, which let inspectors to enter a building without a warrant, watch activity, inquire about papers or information, and make copies.

Cryptocurrency automated teller machines (CATMs) enable individuals to purchase or exchange fiat currency into cryptocurrencies. However because no CATM operators are registered with the FCA, any that operate in the United Kingdom violate anti-money laundering legislation.

The FCA, which has long cautioned consumers that cryptoassets are unregulated and investors should be prepared to lose their whole investment, instructed CATM operators to shut down their machines or face further investigation last year.

According to CoinATMRadar, a website that allows users to search for CATMs globally, there were more than 270 of these cash machines in the United Kingdom by 2020. It presently displays only 19 locations, including 12 in London, 6 in Birmingham, and 1 in Manchester.

Reuters was unable to determine if this was due to operators ceasing operations or because they no longer advertised their web presence.

Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at the cryptocurrency brokerage Globalblock, remarked, "It is very possible that they are going under the radar. But there is also definitely an element of fear and uncertainty about what the FCA is going to do next."


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