Bitcoin ATM Firm Bity Takes On Swiss Regulator For 'Undemocratic' KYC Limits
Bity, the operator of 45 Bitcoin ATMs in Switzerland, is moving ahead with a complaint against Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for lowering the limits on Bitcoin ATM transactions that require users to reveal their identity.
"Anyone using a Bitcoin ATM in Switzerland must now do a KYC check – in other words, reveal their identity – if they transact more than 1,000 francs (about $1,150) over a 30-day period."
"This is being implemented in an undemocratic way," Bity Chairman Alexis Roussel said.
“Normally, this Ordinance only applies to firms that have a license with FINMA,” Roussel said. “It doesn’t apply to companies like Bity or like Western Union or any wealth manager. But there’s a soft power system at play here which is very blurry, and whenever [FINMA] put something in their own Ordinance, all the other self-regulatory organizations have to follow this rule.”
“The background for lowering the threshold is not only the international standards (recommendation of the FATF, the standard setter in the field of anti-money laundering, which has set the threshold of USD/EUR 1000 for virtual currencies), but also the high money laundering risks associated with such services,” FINMA said in an emailed statement."
Roussel pointed out that the FATF, which informs regulators about things like lowering transaction thresholds for identifying people in the financial system, is “a non-democratic system that has no jurisdiction in Switzerland.”
So far, Bity has crowdfunded over 20,000 Swiss francs to pay its legal bills. You can follow their campaign or contribute to their legal fund here.