First Bitcoin ATM in Dubai Removed Shortly After Installation


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The first ever Bitcoin ATM installed in Dubai was removed 24 hours after its installation in the Rixos Premium Hotel, reports local news outlet LovinDubai. With the city’s friendly attitude towards cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, the action of the Dubai authorities came as a surprise. However, the company which installed the Bitcoin ATM stated that the removal was temporary.

Loose AML/KYC Regulations Responsible for Bitcoin ATM Removal

According to a local news outlet, LovinDubai, Dubai’s first ever Bitcoin ATM was removed less than two days after installation by the city’s law enforcement. The BTC ATM, the first of its kind in Dubai was set up in Rixos Premium Hotel, a 5-star hotel in JBR, by a UAE company Amhora. The company had earlier announced the news of the installation via its Twitter handle.

The Bitcoin ATM was a welcome development as individuals could get bitcoin from the kiosk by inserting fiat currency. According to Amhora, a 5% commission charge would apply to a user’s total purchase. The presence of the ATM in its strategic location would have enabled the installation of more kiosks and made virtual currency trading easier for the people.

Amhora further claimed that the kiosk had a license from the Department of Economic Development. Also, users could buy bitcoins without questions. However, the life span of the BTC ATM was cut short by the Dubai law enforcement. Amhora, according to an update posted on its Twitter handle, the company had issues with the authorities which caused ATM operations to shut down and removed.

Furthermore, Dubai authorities did not feel comfortable with the company’s loose AML/KYC regulations, which caused the removal of the maiden Bitcoin ATM. Amhora, has, however, stated that the removal is temporary and the ATM would be back after fulfilling all necessary obligations.

The Growth of Bitcoin ATMs Globally

The number of Bitcoin ATMs has grown steadily and there are currently over 4,400 BTC ATMs worldwide according to Coinatmradar. With the emergence of more ATM kiosks, digital currency trading is made easier. However, some countries/cities see kiosks as a means to defraud users.

Back in October 2018, Indian Authorities seized the country’s first ever BTC ATM installed by Unocoin. A week after the company installed the cryptocurrency ATM, authorities arrested the co-founders of Unocoin, stating that they planned to use the kiosks to carry out fraudulent activities. Sathvik Viswanath, one of the co-founders, denied the allegations, stating that the ATM machine was not set up to defraud users and bitcoin trading was not illegal.

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