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To prevent scammers, a California law limits Bitcoin ATM transactions to $1,000 - Slashdot


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    One 80-year-old retired teacher in Los Angeles lost $69,000 in bitcoin to scammers. And 46,000 people lost over $1 billion to crypto scams since 2021 (according to America's Federal Trade Commission).

    Now the Los Angeles Times reports California's new moves against scammers using bitcoin ATMs, with a bill one representative says "is about ensuring that people who have been frauded in our communities don't continue to watch our state step aside when we know that these are real problems that are happening." Starting in January, California will limit cryptocurrency ATM transactions to $1,000 per day per person under Senate Bill 401, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law. Some bitcoin ATM machines advertise limits as high as $50,000... Victims of bitcoin ATM scams say limiting the transactions will give people more time to figure out they're being tricked and prevent them from using large amounts of cash to buy cryptocurrency.

    But crypto ATM operators say the new laws will harm their industry and the small businesses they pay to rent space for the machines. There are more than 3,200 bitcoin ATMs in California, according to Coin ATM Radar, a site that tracks the machines' locations. "This bill fails to adequately address how to crack down on fraud, and instead takes a punitive path focused on a specific technology that will shudder the industry and hurt consumers, while doing nothing to stop bad actors," said Charles Belle, executive director of the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition...

    Law enforcement has cracked down on unlicensed crypto ATMs, but it can be tough for consumers to tell how serious the industry is about addressing the concerns. In 2020, a Yorba Linda man pleaded guilty to charges of operating unlicensed bitcoin ATMs and failing to maintain an anti-money-laundering program even though he knew criminals were using the funds. The illegal business, known as Herocoin, allowed people to buy and sell bitcoin in transactions of up to $25,000 and charged a fee of up to 25%.


    So there's also provisions in the law against exorbitant fees: The new law also bars bitcoin ATM operators from collecting fees higher than $5 or 15% of the transaction, whichever is greater, starting in 2025. Legislative staff members visited a crypto kiosk in Sacramento and found markups as high as 33% on some digital assets when they compared the prices at which cryptocurrency is bought and sold. Typically, a crypto ATM charges fees between 12% and 25% over the value of the digital asset, according to a legislative analysis...

    Another law would by July 2025 require digital financial asset businesses to obtain a license from the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

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