The authorities of Vancouver fear that bitcoin ATMs can be widely used for money laundering and propose to prohibit installing crypto ATMs in the city.

Vancouver, once the first city with crypto ATM installed, now considers to remove bitcoin vending machines. The mayor of Vancouver suggested to ban ATMs that sell and buy bitcoins.

Earlier, Vancouver police noted that bitcoin ATMs are “ideal money-laundering vehicle.”

“Given the lack of a central authority, there is no controlling organization who can monitor or regulate the transfer of funds to ensure a legitimate transaction. This creates a prime opportunity for the criminal element to capitalize on remaining anonymous, as they work to defraud unsuspecting citizens, launder money, and make large-sum anonymous transactions,” Sergeant Alvin Shum of the Vancouver Police Department wrote in a February 2019 report.

Sergeant Shuma's conclusion was based on growing number of crypto-related crime. The number of registered crimes related to cryptocurrency in 2019 reached 840 cases. This is 300% more than in 2018.

The first bitcoin ATM was installed in the city in 2013. According to Coinatmradar, 76 crypto ATMs are currently operating in Vancouver. However, unlike other money-service businesses, crypto ATMs do not fall under federal anti-money laundering rules.

Still, money laundering through crypto ATMs is not as easy as one might think, after reading the Vancouver police report. As early as 2013, the first crypto machine in Vancouver was equipped with a palm scanner in order to prevent cashing of more than 3,000 Canadian dollars by one person per day.