Crypto adoption around the world is happening in all shapes, but in Germany it’s taking an interesting path. According to data from Coin ATM Radar, there are currently 42 Bitcoin ATMs in Germany, but Spot9 is looking to close as many of those down as possible in order to make way for its own Bitcoin ATMs. Johannes Gorski – Spot9 CEO – said that Spot9 is pushing the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and its legal department to remove all crypto ATMs in the country.
A Champion of KYC or a Tattletale?
Gorski’s comments on Telegram certainly evoke some strong feelings amongst the German crypto community, but Gorski does have a good reason for doing so. He adds that Spot9 is pushing the BaFin and its legal team to only remove the crypto ATMs that are not working in a legal and compliant way. That certainly sounds like Gorski has the best interests of legality and KYC at heart, but is it ethical to push BaFin into shutting down the crypto ATMs of competitors simply to gain an edge in the market? The crypto community seems to disagree, with one commentator saying:
Do you do this because you feel you cannot compete or because you think it is up to you to define what’s legal and compliant and what is not and you feel like playing law enforcement?
Germany Becoming Hostile to Crypto
It isn’t just Spot9 that’s taking aim at the German crypto scene. Earlier in August, a brand-new bill was passed in Germany, stating that all companies that hold private keys must apply for a license. While the bill doesn’t go live until 2020, numerous companies have already pulled support for Germany. BitPay was the first to quit Germany, and we will see many more big names exit in the coming months.
Could Spot9 Influence Law?
There is a good chance that Spot9 has friends in high places, but it’s unlikely that it will ever directly have any involvement with drawing up a new German law at this stage. Spot9 is simply listing off crypto ATMs that don’t comply with KYC and nudging BaFin to do something about it. While KYC still isn’t a legal requirement on crypto ATMs, many companies that have crypto ATMs with KYC are pushing to make this mandatory – such as Spot9.
Many criminals are opting to use crypto ATMs thanks to the lax KYC regulations in place, and as frustrating for adoption as this move from Spot9 is, it’s necessary to weed out the few remaining criminals using crypto.