Russia Is Dead Serious On Crypto Regulations

Is seizing 22 Bitcoin ATMs a low blow even for this crypto-strict country?

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The Prosecutor’s Office and the Central Bank barked out orders for Russian police to confiscate 22 BATMs installed at stores and restaurants in nine cities, local news website vc.ru reported on September 1.

russian-flagPolice officers have seized at least 22 ATMs selling cryptocurrencies in mall, stores, and restaurants in nine Russian cities. The operation of crypto teller machines in the country is reportedly unregulated.

Russian company BBFpro reportedly operates all of the taken away terminals. BBFpro owns a network of bitcoin ATMs all over the country.

BBFpro CEO Artem Bedarev told the Russian media that the company was informally notified of the confiscation and its duration.

Bedarev added:

“I was verbally informed that the check would take at least six months and the ATMs will not be returned until it’s finished.”

The order came from the Prosecutor General’s Office following an instruction from the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), a policeman involved in the seizure disclosed on Friday.

The CBR turned down any request to provide further details. However, they did not fail to mention the regulator conducts “systematic work to identify and counteract illegal activities in the financial market.”

Sarkis Darbinyan, a lawyer for the Center for Digital Rights that’s representing BBFpro said that the central bank’s commands are confusing.

The lawyer said:

“There is no prohibition on purchasing crypto currency in the current legislation. The company complies with all statutory procedures, pays taxes and, moreover, identifies users even in the absence of such a mandatory requirement.”

Darbinyan announced that BBFpro will be appealing against the actions taken by the law enforcement, which includes “both reputational costs and direct economic damage.”

Russia’s strict policies when it comes to crypto also stretches to developing a tool tracing crypto transactions in order to prevent terrorism funding and fraud. The country has recently signed a contract with Moscow-based Institute for Information Security and Analysis (SPI) to create the tool.

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