The UK is tightening the noose on bitcoin. The latest initiative to regulate the use of virtual currencies, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned “cash” withdrawals, in exchange for bitcoins, from ATMs. “We have concerns about cryptocurrency distributors and we will contact operators to ask them to shut down their machines, or face prosecution,” the UK regulator said in a statement.
Before this ban, cash withdrawal activities from bitcoins were barely nascent in the United Kingdom. The “Coint ATM radar” site lists 34 distribution points in the country, compared to 2,384 in Canada and 32,450 in the United States. Some fintechs like Bitcoinpoint had entered this niche with the Cashzone distributor, which has 16,000 withdrawal points. Users registered in advance on the Bitcoinpoint site, indicated how many bitcoins they wanted to sell, then went to the counter with a PIN to withdraw cash.