22 cryptocurrency ATMs have been seized by Russian authorities – but the operator of them is planning an appeal…
Currently, there are some 3600 cryptocurrency ATMs located around the world, across more than 70 countries. But this morning, there are slightly fewer to be found in Russia, courtesy of a new clampdown by Russian authorities.
Law enforcement officials in the country have seized machines in nine different cities across the country, it’s being reported, all of which are operated by the company Bbfpro. In all, 22 ATMs were seized as part of the raids, located in shopping centres, stores and restaurants. They were confiscated on the orders, it’s being reported, of the Russian central bank, and the country’s prosecutor’s office.
Bfbpro’s manager, Artem Bedarev, has protested the move, arguing that his company had not had any questions from the aforementioned authorities before the machines were taken. Furthermore, that the investigation into his company’s ATMs is likely to take until early next year, and the company won’t be getting their machines returned until it’s done.
According to local Russian media, the Central Bank of Russia – and this is translated text – has been looking into “the possibility of uncontrolled cross-border transfer of funds and their subsequent cashing carries high risks of the potential involvement of crypto-currencies in schemes aimed at illegal activities in the financial market”. It has not been answering specific questions about this case, though.
As for Bfbpro, it’s planning to appeal against the seizure of its equipment, and pursue damages for ‘reputational costs and direct economic damage’, arguing that it risks losing customers for good if a Bitcoin ATM disappears, for customers are unlikely to return to the same place to find it.
We’re likely to hear the results of the Russian authorities’ investigation around next March.