Bitcoin ATM opens and Western Union touts investment in compliance

The bitcoin logo

The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world’s first bitcoin ATM opened for business in a Vancouver coffee shop this week, allowing bitcoin holders to exchange their dollars for crypto currency.

Customers first register their palm print with the ATM, enter an individual private key – like a PIN number – and exchange bitcoins for Canadian dollars, or deposit dollars which are converted into bitcoins at the Canadian  VirtEx exchange. (XBT1=CD$254).BitcoinATM

The end of Silk Road, the on-line marketplace where goods were bough and sold only in bitcoins, has hardly dented the crypto-currencies development or exchange rate.

Better regulation?

Meanwhile, Western Union is also feeling the pinch from increased regulatory demands. On Tuesday, the international money remittance giant forecast a vast increase in spending on compliance in 2014, according to The Tell blog.

While the Company has increased its investments in compliance considerably in recent years, significant additional investment in 2014 is now anticipated in light of the current environment and our internal reviews of the increasingly complex and demanding global regulatory requirements.”  FROM THE Q3 EARNINGS RELEASE.

That said, in a recent panel discussion on bitcoin regulation, the Dutch financial regulator admitted it has no interest in setting rules for the use of bitcoin. The US issued licensing guidelines for virtual currency administrators operating on US soil, which led to the Mt Gox temporary closure in June this year.

Here’s the panel discussion. It’s a bit long, and the sound quality isn’t great but the Dutch regulator does a great job of fielding most of the questions to the panel. She talks ‘no regulation’ and gets a round of applause at 1:55.

The Department for Financial Services in New York wants to ‘bring virtual currencies out of the darkness and into the light of day through enhanced transparency’ which is a little worrying. Their August press release on the subject harks back to the ‘Wild West‘ for drug traffickers and other faceless bad guys.

I’m hopeful the mood will change and the language used will reflect something closer to the truth and not simply pursue the ‘good vs evil’ standard of demonising what you do not understand.

Until then, I am going Dutch.





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