Copy of 2023-03-08T134148Z_1563816988_RC2OZS9ZBJXV_RTRMADP_3_FINTECH-CRYPTO-REGULATOR-1678284884122
ATMs that allow customers to exchange fiat currency for crypto proliferated when the price of Bitcoin exploded “- though the “crypto winter” has already led to a sharp fall in activity. Image Credit: REUTERS

London: British authorities are targeting crypto ATMs in their latest effort to disrupt unauthorized businesses in the sector.

The Financial Conduct Authority said Wednesday it “used its powers to inspect several sites in East London suspected of hosting illegally operating crypto ATMs,” which allow people to buy or convert money into cryptoassets.

The regulator will review evidence gathered during its visits and consider taking further action where necessary, according to a statement. There are currently no FCA-registered crypto ATMs in the country, it added.

The action was carried out with the Metropolitan Police and follows a similar effort in Leeds last month. The watchdog, which found in 2021 that about 4.4 per cent of British adults held cryptoassets, has repeatedly warned investors they risk losing all their money.

Regulators globally are tightening rules on crypto amid a wave of company collapses triggered by the ongoing rout in digital asset prices. The price of a Bitcoin has fallen to about $22,000, from a peak of more than $67,000 in late 2021.