Cipher Trace: Bitcoin ATMs Are Being Used for Illicit Purposes

Monday 7 June 2020, 7:48 AM AEST - 1 month ago

22 Bitcoin ATMs Seized By Russian Police In Nine Cities

It looks like bitcoin ATMs are likely to be the next target of U.S. regulators.

Bitcoin ATMs Are Being Used for the Wrong Reasons

Bitcoin ATMs have grown in both size and scope over the past few years. There are approximately 8,000 machines all over the world, and as the love of crypto has gotten bigger, so has the presence of bitcoin ATMs. These machines are now seen as a convenient way to transfer funds and purchase bitcoin with cash or with other forms of crypto in a simple, quick, and convenient way.

However, a new report from blockchain security firm Cipher Trace suggests that perhaps these ATMs are being used for improper purposes. The report says that a lot of these machines are being used to send money to high-risk exchanges, which suggests that perhaps money laundering is a relatively common occurrence.

The document states:

The percentage of funds sent to high-risk exchanges from U.S. BATMs [bitcoin ATMs] has seen exponential growth, doubling every year since 2017.

Three years ago, only about two percent of funds allocated through bitcoin ATMs went to high-risk exchanges. Today, that number has expanded to just over eight percent. This means that the amount of money going to these exchanges has quadrupled in just 36 months. In addition, the report says that most of the money garnered through ATMs – roughly 88 percent – is being stored in offshore accounts. The document says:

Bitcoin ATMs are likely to be the next major regulatory target.

According to Coin ATM Radar, the number of bitcoin ATMs in the world has grown exponentially over the past year. The current figure is roughly 8,300 machines. In 2019, the number was only 5,000 machines, meaning that more than 3,000 have been added in just 12 months. Thats an increase of about 60 percent.

Furthermore, the rate of installation has more than doubled since the beginning of 2020, with more than 1,000 new machines being installed from December to January of th ...

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