Pub patrons unimpressed after Bitcoin ATM shut down by regulators

Bishop Lacy pub

World’s oldest building with a bitcoin ATM closed for 15 months (Credits: Devon Live/BPM MEDIA)

Customers who showed up at a Devon pub to buy cryptocurrency have had to be turned away under new rules from regulators.

The disappointed bitcoin supporters had previously used a state-of-the-art bitcoin ATM at the old-fashioned Bishop Lacy Inn in Chudleigh.

But since the government cracked down on crypto ATMs, the pub has been keeping people at a distance from the machines for 15 months. Meanwhile, the owners of the company that installed the machines in Devon have applied for a licence.

The ATM is still in the pub but the power has been shut off pending approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Meanwhile, landlords at Bishop Lacy — the oldest building in the world with a Bitcoin ATM — are turning customers away and telling callers everything is on hold.

A spokesman for the pub said: “Our application has been received for approximately 15 months. The machine is still standing, but we cannot use it.

“We used to take a lot of money onto this machine every month to put into bitcoin. You would be amazed at how many people would buy even in a small town like Chudleigh.

“We keep getting calls from people wanting to come in and use the machine. It’s a shame FCA hasn’t given their approval yet as now is a good time to buy.”

What is a Bitcoin ATM?

LA LIBERTAD, EL SALVADOR - JUNE 16: A person scans a QR code at a Bitcoin ATM on June 16, 2021 in Chiltuipan, El Salvador. Playa El Zonte has been named the bitcoin capital, around 500 families are promoting the use of the cryptocurrency to help the economy of a place struggling with poverty. Salvadorans from the El Zonte community have been using Bitcoin in their businesses, purchases and basic cart payments for the past two years. El Salvador became the first country in the world to recognize bitcoin as legal tender. (Photo by Alex Pena/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A person scans a QR code at a Bitcoin ATM in Chiltuipan, El Salvador. (Image credit: Getty)

Unlike typical ATMs that allow you to withdraw money from your bank account, Bitcoin ATMs allow you to buy and exchange cryptocurrencies with real money. These machines produce blockchain-based transactions that send cryptos to the user’s digital wallet via QR codes.

Crypto ATMs typically use an internet-based cryptocurrency portal to manage transactions. In the case of a bitcoin ATM, users deposit their cash and the machine converts the cash into crypto and sends the funds to your bitcoin wallet.

Users can also invest in multiple cryptocurrencies and all funds are secured in the same wallet, unlike traditional banking where a user needs separate cards and accounts for each company.

SatoshiUK’s Steve Underwood, one of the three directors of the company that installed the ATM at Bishop Lacy, said: “The FCA are extremely busy.

“It’s such a shame because everything is on hold and we offered a service to people.

“It was good for a small town like Chudleigh – people came from all over the place.

“Our main customers were the over 55 age group and women. Just the other day I got a call from Paignton saying people call all the time and ask when they can come and use the machine.”

The shut down bitcoin ATM at the Bishop Lacy Inn in Chudleigh.

The shut down bitcoin ATM at the Bishop Lacy Inn in Chudleigh. (Image credit: Devon Live/BPM MEDIA)

According to the FCA, crypto ATMs offering cryptoasset exchange services in the UK must be registered with us and comply with UK Money Laundering Regulations (MLR).

“None of the cryptoasset firms registered with us have been approved to offer crypto ATM services, meaning all of them operating in the UK are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them.”

According to recent statistics, there are around 80 bitcoin ATMs in the UK, none of which have been approved to offer crypto ATM services.

“We regularly warn consumers that crypto assets are unregulated and high risk, which means people are very unlikely to have protection if something goes wrong, so people should be ready to lose all their money if they decide to to invest in them,” Das told the FCA in a statement.

Bitcoin ATMs were introduced back in 2014 when there were only 301 such machines in the world.

Bitcoin ATMs are particularly attractive to crypto investors as they can bypass the lengthy Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures common on cryptocurrency trading platforms.

There are now nearly 34,000 cryptocurrency ATMs available worldwide, offering users the ability to buy and exchange cryptocurrencies with fiat money (actual money).

While these ATMs can be found around the world, 90% of them run in the US, while Canada comes second with just over 2,200 machines.

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Justin Scacco

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