The concept was solid and consistent with what Bitcoin was meant to be—provide a mechanism through which individuals could send cryptocurrency through social media accounts. However, Bottle Pay doesn’t believe that it would be beneficial to adhere to all of the guidelines Bitcoin laid out in its white paper and is pulling the plug. The U.K.-based company announced last Friday that it will shut down as of the end of this month.
Tuesday, December 31 at 13:00 GMT marks the time when the lights and the computers will be turned off for the company. It explains in its announcement that new anti-money-laundering (AML) guidelines coming to the European Union (EU) as of January are one of the catalysts for the decision, adding, “As we are a U.K. based custodial bitcoin wallet provider, we will have to comply with the 5AMLD EU regulation coming into effect on 10th January 2020. The amount and type of extra personal information we would be required to collect from our users would alter the current user experience so radically, and so negatively, that we are not willing to force this onto our community.”
Without giving any advance notice, the company already stopped accepting new deposits and account registrations, both of which were stopped last Friday. Social media accounts operated by the company, including on Twitter, Telegram, Discord and others, were taken offline and any funds that had been submitted for deposit using those mediums will be refunded within seven days.
Users are urged to remove all of their funds as soon as possible. Once the lights are turned off, everything will become inaccessible and no claims for fund recovery will be allowed. Bottle Pay states that all funds that are left in its wallets after the closure will be donated to The Human Rights Foundation. It doesn’t specify what it plans on doing with the $2 million it raised two months ago in a funding round.
The EU introduced its Fifth AML Directive two and a half years ago, ordering member states to adopt it by January 10, 2020. The directive covers crypto custodians, wallets and exchanges, and requires that the crypto companies operating in those countries adhere to tighter controls, just like what is expected of fiat-related businesses. The company, introduced by Block Matrix, only just launched this past summer, well after the new EU requirements had been announced.
Bottle Pay adds, “As we’re sure is clear, closing Bottle Pay is a very difficult decision for us as a team to take, but protecting the integrity of both ourselves and our community is our priority and has guided us to this course of action. We will take some time now to gather our thoughts and decide on the best course of action going forward. If and when there are announcements to make on our future plans we will do so through reputable publications at the appropriate time.”
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