The Vancouver government is not very happy with the evolution of crypto in the locality, and the growing concern that digital currencies may facilitate money laundering operations has prompted the authorities to propose a ban on Bitcoin ATMs.
According to the Vancouver Police Department, the lack of regulations and the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies have turned Bitcoin ATMs into an “ideal money-laundering vehicle”.
This opinion has been gaining strength over the last few months. Back in February, Sergeant Alvin Shum wrote a report to the Vancouver Police Board warning about the possible dangers associated with the use of Bitcoin in non-controlled transactions:
“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. This creates a prime opportunity for the criminal element to capitalize on remaining anonymous, as they work to defraud unsuspecting citizens, launder money, and make large-sum anonymous transactions.”
Vancouver was the first city in the world to have a Bitcoin ATM, however, despite giving a lesson in innovation, it seems that the authorities do not hesitate to change their decision if this maintains the state of law that has so characterized the locality.
However, the decision is not without controversy. According to the local media outlet The Star, the authorities must weigh the pros and cons of this decision in order not to affect the legitimate businesses already established around the local crypto ecosystem.
Christine Duhaime, a Vancouver lawyer specialized in AML policies explained to the news site that the situation is not as easy as it seems:
“Vancouver definitely has connections to, unfortunately, digital currencies being used for nefarious purposes, but on the other side, it also (includes) legitimate businesses where they’re trying to get regulations to operate more legitimately.
Until now it is not possible to know with certainty whether this ban will be a reality or is simply a possibility that is being studied, but the rumor has already generated discontent in the ecosystem. One of those affected, Mr. Drew Glover explained that it is ” absurd ” to think that the municipalities could have the competence to restrict or regulate the operations with cryptocurrencies when this matter is clearly a competence of the federal regulations.
“The new regulation will define what businesses dealing in the space are required to do to monitor and prevent those sort of activities,”