Russian Law Enforcement Seized 22 Bitcoin ATMs Across the Country, Following China’s Model?

Russian Law Enforcement Seized 22 Bitcoin ATMs Across the Country, Following China's Model

Russian police have seized 22 Bitcoin ATMs across Russia. The order was carried out on behalf of the Prosecutor’s Office for the Central Bank of Russia, and the owner of the ATMs, RBFpro, had all of their 22 Bitcoins ATMs seized.

In an article on RBC, the head of BBFprom, Artem Bedarev, said that the law enforcement officials are interested in how the ATMs operate and things such as the exchange rate. In addition to that, they also look to see if the company has unpaid taxes, how users information is stored and if they are used for criminal purposes or to finance terrorism.

Sarkis Darbinyan, BBFpros lawyer and also head of Center for the Defense of Digital Rights, said that the company has complied with all needed procedures and have paid their taxes. In addition to that, they also identify users even though that this is something that is not currently needed by law. Darbinyan also said that the company is looking to appeal the seizures, which includes losses in reputation and economic damage, the extent of which they are currently evaluating.

However, BBFPro is not the only company providing ATMs in Russia. According to Fanis Zagitov, the head of a competing ATM-provider called Malavita, law enforcement often inspect ATMs when they suspect they are used for money laundering. He also says that because Russia lacks laws that regulate the turnover of cryptocurrencies, the situation only gets worse.

While Russia remains progressive in the adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, the laws surrounding cryptocurrencies are still in somewhat of a legal grey area. However, the Russian Duma has recently adopted three bills regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, which will hopefully help in making the legal distinctions surrounding cryptocurrencies and blockchain more clear.  

Image source: “Flickr”

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