Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Bitcoin problems news to bankers

A central Auckland Bitcoin ATM has had to shut down. Photo / AP
A central Auckland Bitcoin ATM has had to shut down. Photo / AP

The New Zealand Bankers' Association is not aware of any problems with the local Bitcoin community getting access to banking services.

A Bitcoin ATM was shut down by its owner this week after claims the service could not get support from banks.

The Herald understands others in the New Zealand Bitcoin community have also run into difficulties with banks. A source told the Herald yesterday one Bitcoin start-up had its account closed.

Bitcoin Central operated a two-way Bitcoin ATM in Auckland's Karangahape Rd, allowing users to buy and sell the digital currency for cash.

The ATM was launched last month but a message on Bitcoin Central's website says the machine has now shut down.

"Unfortunately, despite complying with all the legal requirements we have been unable to secure banking facilities. Without these the Bitcoin ATM business cannot operate long-term," it said.

"The negativity from the banking sector to Bitcoin also threatens the ATM owner's other businesses."

It was prudent to shut the ATM down, Bitcoin Central said.

Bankers' Association chief executive Kirk Hope said he was not aware of the issue or of any difficulties Bitcoin start-ups had with banks.

"I think the reason that they would be struggling to get access to banking services is because of the Government's anti-money laundering regime and the level of risk they pose under that regime."

Bitcoin Central's Mike Steeneveld could not be contacted yesterday but on the social media site reddit said he had been "fully compliant" with money-laundering and terrorism laws.

- NZ Herald

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