Bitcoin ATM machines: how are they seen by the authorities?

Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am


We have been talking about Bitcoin ATM machines for a while now (the Robocoin, the San Diego machine and the Bitcoin Machine), but the latest developments in the cryptocurrency world – such as the suspicions that led the federal authorities to shut down Liberty Reserve -, made us go back to this issue.

How are these devices seen by the authorities? Especially by the USA government, where Bitcoin has been more scrutinized. Well, news aren’t good for the creators of these machines. According to a document published in March by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in which the institution explained what it thought about the Bitcoin world, cryptocurrency ATM machines aren’t pleasing the authorities.

FinCEN guidelines made some rules very clear, particularly this opinion: anyone operating a Bitcoin ATM is seen as a money transmitter and must obey a long list of requirements.

This means complying with a lot of state requirements, as well as federal anti money-laundering and anti-terrorism laws. Is this going to be too complex for small businesses? Is giving up the best option?

Summing it up, this is the main result of the FinCEN document: questions and more questions. Although some rules are clear, a major part of the guidelines is still doubtful. Guess we’ll have to wait what can happen once someone starts using a Bitcoin ATM machine…


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