Bitcoin ATM Removed from Dubai, CEO Arrested


This past week a blockchain search engine and explorer, Amhora, installed a Bitcoin ATM at a hotel in Dubai. “Invest in Blockchain” reported that in a press release by the Khaleej Times “customers using the ATM are not required to provide know-your-customer (KYC) information when buying Bitcoin.” Interestingly enough, this press release by the Khaleej Times has since been deleted, as this Bitcoin ATM has also since been removed by authorities.

Another very noteworthy factor about this Bitcoin ATM that is being installed by Amhora is charging only a 5% commission on the total purchase amount, which is notoriously low compared to many other Bitcoin ATMs that charge 7.5% fees, and in some cases up to 10% fees when using a bitcoin ATM. Amhora’s CEO stated that “the commission is very attractive because you can buy bitcoins instantly” and continues to say that: “otherwise, people have to go through a number of procedures which take a of time” but at this ATM “you just insert cash and you get bitcoins instantly.” A photo of the ATM is here in the screenshot of the tweet below:

The Bitcoin ATM was situated on the mezzanine floor of the hotel

BAmid some controversy, this bitcoin ATM has since been removed. In the screenshot below @amhora_com tweets that they had a “run-in with the law enforcement” and have removed the ATM due to KYC issues. While clearly the ATM must comply with local law, it is somewhat surprising that law enforcement in Dubai took such harsh actions.

Amhora tweeted to their followers about the removal of the ATM

Since the beginning of 2019 the United Arab Emirates has been the #1 country in terms of ICO fundraising according to reports published in Icobench. While ICO fundraising has declined throughout 2019 as a whole, it has actually ramped up in some places like Singapore and the UK. On top of this, around $210 million was raised in January and February 2019 in the United Arab Emirates alone. Earlier in the year, I wrote an update on the project that the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and the United Aram Emirates Central Bank were launching together called “ABER” where the banks from both nations are settling financial statements through blockchain technology. I linked the update where I talk about project “ABER” in the sources below, but overall it is a very positive blockchain related development between both nations.

Taking into account the aggressive ICO fundraising and the positive steps by the UAE Central Bank, it is surprising to see that authorities in Dubai remove the newly placed Bitcoin ATM in a quick 48 hours. I reached out to the CEO of Amhora named Anhad Dhingra and had the opportunity of asking him a couple of questions.

CEO Anhad Dhingra confirmed to me that the authorities removed the ATM within two days due to the lack of KYC/AML regulations, and Bitcoin’s legality being a grey area in the United Arab Emirates. I was surprised to hear this due to the previously mentioned excessive ICO investing and the UAE Central Bank investigating blockchain technology. Nonetheless, authorities in Dubai took this situation very seriously and Dhingra was arrested. There was also a criminal investigation surrounding this event, but Dhingra plans to push forward saying that he is “working with the authorities to get fully compliant” and he mentions that the software is being modified for KYC.

Image result for uae central bank
The UAE Central Bank is currently investigating use cases for blockchain technology

I confirmed that this ATM was purchased through Lamassu as they say in one of their tweets “shoutout to @LamassuBTC” as Dhingra says that they “only work with the best.” I also inquired about the types of cryptocurrencies that Amhora may offer from their ATM machine on top of Bitcoin, and Dhingra said that they were considering enabling Litecoin ($LTC) due to the fact that the LTC chain is generally quicker than BTC for confirmations.

Despite the Drama with the ATM, Dhingra plans to get it back up and running again once fully compliant with local authorities. On top of the ATM, The Amhora project has a much larger outlook than that as they are planning to integrate blockchain into the real world economy.

Currently, The Amhora Project runs a free-to-use blockchain search engine/explorer at and is still in the early BETA stage. The Amhora Project is planning to release multi-sig wallets some point throughout 2019-2020 and eventually extending into a decentralized banking platform. CEO Anhad Dhingra stated over telegram to me that he will “remain determined to contribute toward decentralization, despite all legal challenges. ” 

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About The Dragon

“The Dragon” is a technical analyst and writer who discovered bitcoin back in 2016. Intrigued with the technical aspects of the ecosystem, the concept of mining is what initially grabbed the Dragon’s interest. Along with currently studying computer science the Dragon is focused on bringing quality and helpful content to the Cryptocurrency space.




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