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Posted: Saturday 7 July, 2018 at 12:00 PM

ECCB warns of unauthorized Bitcoin ATMs

By: Jermine Abel,
    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Jul. 06.2018 – THE Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) says that the implementation of new Bitcoin machines in St. Kitts and Nevis has not been regulated and cautions against the operations of cryptocurrency since it is not controlled by them.
    The Central Bank in a statement said it has come to the attention of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission of St Kitts and Nevis (FSRC )that a Bitcoin ATM has been installed at a location in the Federation.
    The bank noted that it also understands that there are plans for the installation of similar machines in other locations in the Federation.
    To this end, the financial institution said that bitcoin or any issuer of bitcoin has not been designated under the Payment System Act in St Kitts and Nevis.

    “This means that there are no existing regulations to specifically protect consumers from financial losses if an organisation that exchanges or holds virtual currencies fails or goes out of business.

    “In other words, persons who choose to use these services or are contemplating use of these services ought to understand that they do so completely at their own risk. The extent of this risk, at this point in time, is not fully known given the novelty of the area and the absence of regulatory oversight.”

    The bank in a June 5 2018 advisory, while recognizing the developments in the FinTech space, cautioned consumers about its use.   

    Cryptocurrency has caught the world by storm and was recently a topic discussed at the Caribbean Investment Summit in St. Kitts and Nevis.

    SKNVibes understands that officials were making plans to have them installed on both St. Kitts and on Nevis.
    “The ECCB and the FSRC recognise that financial innovation is essential, however the appropriate legal and regulatory framework is necessary to protect the integrity of the financial system and investors and consumers alike,” ECCB’s statement read.

    The bank however noted, that “At this stage, the ECCB, as a regional regulator, is pressing ahead with its work to advise the Governments of the ECCU on an appropriate regional framework for FinTech regulation and supervision as well as a strategy to reduce the use of cash to help boost growth and competitiveness. To this end, the ECCB will be working with other national regulators within the ECCU to adopt a common approach.



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