Vancouver authorities are considering banning bitcoin ATMs to curb money laundering.
Currently, there are 76 bitcoin ATMs in and around Vancouver. According to the local law enforcement, these machines are an ideal money laundering vehicle since there are no requirements to register any customer details.
“A user can also launder an unlimited amount of money using smaller transactions so as not to arouse suspicion, like they would at a regular bank,” the Vancouver Police said in a report. “This becomes even easier if a criminal group were to purchase an ATM for a few thousand dollars and put all their cash through that one ATM, laundering the money, as many times as required and either profit from or eliminate the transaction fee.”
In January of this year, the city council passed a motion to add a bylaw to regulate the use and operation of crypto ATMs, including the requirement for a business license, requirement for signage to advertise common frauds, requirement for identifications to be used to verify the sender and receiver of funds and requirement of security features.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, however, said that the measure may not be harsh enough, and suggested an outright ban. The city council will be conducting further research and consultation on proposals before moving closer towards a final decision.
“Vancouver definitely has connections to, unfortunately, digital currencies being used for nefarious purposes,” said Christine Duhaime, a Vancouver lawyer who advises companies on how to avert financial crime and money laundering. “But on the other side, it also (includes) legitimate businesses where they’re trying to get regulations to operate more legitimately.”
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