Slovenian Regulator Bans Sale of Cryptocurrency on ATMs

By , 08 Feb 2018, 12:35 PM Business
Slovenian Regulator Bans Sale of Cryptocurrency on ATMs Wikimedia: Mrnett1974 CC by 3.0

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Central bank's decision comes after warning about cryptocurrency risks. 

STA, February 8, 2018 - A small Slovenian savings bank has been forced to stop selling cryptocurrency directly on its ATMs, in what is yet another indication that the days of cryptocurrency free-for-all are ending.

Hranilnica Lon, a savings bank with only 15 own automated teller machines, announced to great fanfare in September last year that users could now buy bitcoin directly on its ATMs.

This could be done via the purchase of Bitins coupons which can then be traded for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and ether.

But on 19 January it issued a notice this was no longer possible.

The bank has now told the STA this was the result of a decision issued by Banka Slovenije, the central bank, to immediately stop the practice.

Unofficial information indicates the regulatory decision is based on legislative provisions that restrict banks to selling financial products, which cryptocurrencies are not deemed to be.

Hranilnica Lon said it had sold coupons worth more than half a million euro in under four months.

The central bank's decision came just a day after it issued a stark warning about cryptocurrency risks in a rare press conference.

Central bank officials said on 18 January cryptocurrencies could pose a systemic risk to financial stability if the amount of money poured into them continued to grow.

Slovenia likes to bill itself as a crypto-friendly country and many companies have raised millions of euro with initial coin offerings, IPOs of sorts but for cryptocurrency and completely unregulated.

But the rising risk of abuse has also led to calls for regulation.

The central bank indicated at the 18 January press conference it would not regulate independently, but it did indicate the European Central Bank (ECB) was mulling eurozone-wide regulation.

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