BaFin, Germany’s Financial Regulator, Suspends Operations of Crypto Firm, which Allowed Users to Buy and Sell Digital Currencies via ATMs

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (BaFin), the nation’s financial regulator, is suspending the operations of a firm known as KKT UG from Berlin, which allowed users to purchase and sell digital currencies via ATMs.

As BaFin noted on March 4, 2020, Adam Gramowski, who managed KKT UG, has been ordered to cease cross-border or international proprietary trading. The order from BaFin was issued on February 26, 2020.

As mentioned on its website, the firm markets 24 Bitcoin machines, which facilitate the sale and purchase of digital currencies in Germany. The company offers these services across Europe. 

As noted in his LinkedIn profile, Gramowski serves as the chief executive of Bitcoin Technologies, which is reportedly based in Torun, Poland.

BaFin stated that Gramowski performs commercial proprietary trading through KKT UG, and that he should have obtained a license before conducting this activity, as required by the country’s laws (under the German Banking Act). Gramowski did not have the necessary approval for this.

Germany’s virtual currency ATMs have had an uncertain status. Proceedings from September of 2019, heard by the German Court of Appeal, against the management of Bitcin-24, a local Bitcoin exchange (which have now been discontinued), have come to the conclusion that commercial trading of Bitcoin without taking permission from authorities are not considered punishable.

This year, the German government introduced new anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. Crypto-related firms including virtual currency exchanges, custodians and crypto wallet providers will be required to obtain license from BaFin.

Firms have to submit their applications by June of this year, and were required to inform BaFin about their intention to apply by February 2020.

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