Banking authorities have advised citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to avoid using the bitcoin ATM machines installed on the islands last week.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC), and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) said ATMs are “not currently regulated” and it is important that members of the public “act with caution.” when using crypto ATMs.
The confirmation came a week after the Caribbean country set up crypto ATMs across the country, allowing people to buy small amounts of bitcoins.
The central bank claims that Antigua and Barbuda does not have the infrastructure to comprehensively regulate such investments.
The announcement surprised analysts across the region. This is because the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Union drafted a bill to regulate virtual assets earlier this year. Even its Monetary Council approved the bill within weeks, recommending that member countries adopt a legal framework.
Antigua and Barbuda quickly passed legislation and set the stage for Bitcoin trading. However, the central bank is now claiming that the infrastructure is insufficient to manage such risky investments.
Cryptocurrencies have been generating huge interest in Antigua and Barbuda lately. It recently became the second country to launch its own cryptocurrency called Dcash, stating that a blockchain-based currency could facilitate financial transactions for people without a bank account.
The country even went as far as announcing that it would accept bitcoins from foreigners wishing to acquire the country’s citizenship.
Unlike bitcoins, Dcash is issued by an official central bank and is pegged to the existing East Caribbean dollar.