As the EU works on creating tougher AML and KYC regulations, many Bitcoin ATMs in Europe still operate with no KYC or AML checks in place. This makes Bitcoin ATMs a haven for gangs looking to launder money through the crypto world. However, due to the public nature of Bitcoin, these criminals can be identified and shut down very quickly.
The Spanish police have successfully taken down a drug ring that has been using multiple Bitcoin ATMs around the country to launder money. The gang managed to launder $10 million through Bitcoin before their operation was shut down by the police.
Targeting Vulnerable ATM Owners
Various nations have implemented crypto regulations, including Malta from the European Union. However, none of these regulations force Bitcoin ATM operators to implement any KYC or AML procedures – meaning you can buy as much Bitcoin as you want without any trouble. Bitcoin ATM owners are left somewhat exposed by the lack of regulations, as many owners have chosen not to implement the optional KYC and AML procedures. The Spanish gang spent time searching for such operators and systematically used only these vulnerable ATMs.
Jurisdictions Pushing for ATM Regulations
It’s cases like this that really highlight why regulations are so important – they force lazy owners to protect the crypto world from abuse by gangs and unscrupulous individuals. Over in Canada, the Vancouver police have demanded that the government creates regulations for Bitcoin ATMs to prevent this type of case happening in Canada. For now, Bitcoin ATMs still remain a scammer’s and gang’s paradise, giving these people unchecked access to the crypto world. With more than 4,000 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide, it’s about time we saw some form of global Bitcoin ATM regulations – or at least manufacturers imposing KYC and AML procedures on their ATMs before shipping.
Even on the blockchain island, where regulations are tough and regulatory bodies come down with huge penalties, there no Bitcoin ATM regulations. This means criminals and drug lords – two types of people Malta is world famous for – can head on down to the nearest 24/7 Bitcoin ATM operated by Moon Zebra and turn their illicit cash into Bitcoin. It’s this very type of behavior and action that is giving the Bitcoin world a bad reputation and creates some truth to Donald Trump’s words about Bitcoin. Until we see regulations put in place for Bitcoin ATMs, criminals will continue to use them as a way to launder their illicit money.