Vancouver’s authorities have started turning against bitcoin ATMs. The city’s mayor, Kennedy Stewart recently recommended that the city should ban the use of such machines. He made this proposal after the city’s police force noted that bitcoin ATMs could help bad actors clean their money.
According to a report, Vancouver was the first city in the world to have a bitcoin ATM. The machine was installed at a coffee shop in the city in 2013. Per data from Coinatmradar.com, Vancouver has a total of 76 bitcoin ATMs today. Bitcoin ATMs do not run like other money-service businesses. The main difference is that none of them are governed by anti-money laundering rules.
Apart from the mayor, the Vancouver Police Department has also attacked bitcoin ATMs twice from 2013 to date.
A Spike in Crypto-related Crimes
On February 21 this year, Sergeant Alvin Shum of the Vancouver Police Department said,
Given the lack of a central authority, there is no controlling organization who can monitor or regulate the transfer of funds to ensure a legitimate transaction.
Per Shum, this encourages crime. He drew these conclusions from the rising trend of crypto police filings in the city for more than a year.
He noted that crypto crimes in Vancouver grew by 350 percent in 2017. On top of this, the crypto crime rates increased by another 250 percent in the past year. This year, the city’s police have already recorded more than 840 crypto-related cases.
It is not clear how many of these crimes are directly related to the use of crypto ATMs. However, Shum claims that criminals have been using a “high pressure” method to get innocent residents to withdraw their funds and deposit them in a provided bitcoin address.
While the city’s authorities are fighting bitcoin ATMs, crypto businesses are bullish on them. Reportedly, crypto businesses installed 15 other bitcoin ATMs in the city.
A Move Towards Regulating the bitcoin ATM Sector
Earlier this year, Vancouver’s city council proposed a bylaw to regulate bitcoin ATMs. The bylaw suggested that anyone running a bitcoin machine should have a business permit. It also required that the machines should verify the sender and receiver of funds. On top of this, the bylaw needed that bitcoin ATMs should have security features.
Do you think banning crypto ATMs in Vancouver will slow down crypto adoption? Let us know in the comments below.