Vancouver Police Look to Ban Bitcoin ATMs Citing Them As Ideal Money Laundering Vehicles

  • Vancouver is analyzing the possibility to ban crypto ATMs
  • The city claims they can be used to perform money laundering activities

    Police in Vancouver has called Bitcoin ATMs a great tool for criminals to launder money.

According to The Star, Vancouver’s mayor has suggested banning these machines. However, experts believe that regulations are better than a ban in the industry.

Could Vancouver Ban Crypto ATMs?

At the moment, virtual currencies are not regulated by federal anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations, this is why there are many jurisdictions around the world that are trying to control these sectors. According to Christine Duhaime, a lawyer in Vancouver that works with companies in AML and financial crime issues, the city has connections with cryptocurrencies that are being used for nefarious purposes.

Nonetheless, the lawyer explains that there are legitimate businesses that are trying to get regulations to operate under a clear regulatory framework. According to the Vancouver Police Department, cryptocurrencies and ATMs are being used to commit fraud and are ideal to launder the proceeds of crime.

At the moment, there are more than 60 different cryptocurrency ATMs in Vancouver according to CoinATMRadar. There are some of them in coffee shops while others are located in shopping malls. These machines allow individuals to exchange virtual currencies back into cash, however, not all the ATMs have the cash option.

The city council passed a motion that suggested a bylaw to regulate the operation and use of virtual currency ATMs. That means that companies would have to require a business license to operate and they would have to avoid illegal transactions to happen through their machines. They have also evaluated the possibility to directly ban these machines in the city. However, the decision is being analyzed and they will take a decision in the coming months.

According to VPD Sgt. Alvin Shum, the Association of Police Conference, saw a 350 percent increase compared to 2018. Shum said that they expect to receive 840 reports this year, a 300 percent increase compared to 2018.

There are some machines that have certain limits to the funds that users can extract each time. Some ATMs require users to provide a cellphone number or an ID if they transact more than $1,000 while others have no limits at all.

At the moment, there are 4917 Bitcoin ATMs around the world, 73.6% of them located in North America and 12.9% specifically in Canada. Europe has 1101 machines, Asia 113, South America 57 and Oceania 19.

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