By CCN.com: Despite being the first location in the world to have a Bitcoin ATM, Vancouver’s authorities are turning against the vending machines.
According to The Star, Bitcoin ATMs are under mayoral assault after a surge in criminal activities being conducted through the devices.
Per the publication, Vancouver’s Mayor Kennedy Stewart suggested during a recent council meeting that banning the Bitcoin machines was an option being considered to contain crypto-related fraud and money laundering. Vancouver’s city hall employees have now been tasked to conduct research on the matter. A report is expected to be submitted in this year’s fourth quarter.
At the moment Vancouver boasts of 76 Bitcoin ATMs, the third largest by a Canadian city, per Coin ATM Radar. Toronto leads with 219 crypto ATMs while Montreal boasts of 104 cryptocurrency vending machines.
The growing hostility to Bitcoin teller machines by Vancouver authorities has not come as a surprise though. At the beginning of the year, Vancouver’s city council betrayed intentions of imposing crippling regulations on crypto ATMs.
In a motion passed by the city council, a bylaw was suggested which would have required that with every Crypto ATM transaction, the identity of both the sender and receiver of funds be verified. The bylaw would also have required all Bitcoin vending machines to bear signage warning of common frauds.
A report by Vancouver police in February may also have contributed to the anti-crypto stance. In the report, the Vancouver police argued that Bitcoin ATMs were highly effective tools for money-laundering by organized criminal organizations.
The report also noted that cryptocurrency-related crimes had increased by 350 percent year-over-year in 2017. This year the police expect a 300 percent rise in such crimes compared to last year. It has not helped that three months ago, one of the largest Bitcoin ATM fraud cases in Canada was reported by the Calgary Police Service.
The fraudsters, in this case, targeted a Canadian bitcoin firm where they siphoned C$195,000 ($146,000) in 112 transactions across Canada. Specifically, the fraudsters applied ‘double-spend attacks’ on the crypto vending machines. Using this technique they were able to withdraw money form the devices before remotely cancelling the transactions prior to the withdrawal being processed.
There have also been reported scams in Canada where fraudsters directing tax payers to Bitcoin ATMs to remit overdue taxes.
If Vancouver goes ahead to ban Bitcoin ATMs it would be a blow to the city’s legacy as the first place in the world to have a crypto teller machine. On October 29, 2013, the world’s first Bitcoin vending machine went live in a coffee shop located in downtown Vancouver.
In 2013, bitcoin was exchanging at the rate of around 210 Canadian dollars. The ATM was restricted to buying of bitcoin only.