Lis 11

Bitcoin ATMs Have Spread to 4,000 Locations Globally

Numerous signs of maturity can be noted across the cryptocurrency industry. A growing number of Bitcoin ATMs is making their mark on the world. This month, the number is expected to surpass the 4,000 milestone.


Another Milestone for Bitcoin ATMs

Making cryptocurrency more accessible remains a key priority. Bitcoin ATMs have their role to play in this regard. These machines make it easier to buy bitcoin and altcoins with fiat currencies. Nearly 4,000 of these devices can be accessed on a global scale.

It is a low number compared to bank ATMs, but more devices are brought online every single day. Currently over 6 Bitcoin ATMs come online every single day.

Bitcoin ATMs Spring up Across Utah... ish

In May, Bitcoinist reported on the 3,000 location milestone for Bitcoin ATMs worldwide.

North America is the place to be for accessing Bitcoin ATMs. The continent controls 71.3% of the market at this time. Europe is the somewhat surprising second entrant on the list. Nearly one in four devices can be found in top European cities. Asia, while quite prominent in cryptocurrency trading, only houses 2.56% of all Bitcoin ATMs. Oceania, South America, and Africa are even further down the rankings.

One peculiar trend is how operators are not just focusing on Bitcoin. Over six in ten machines support altcoins in various degrees. Litecoin is the most popular altcoin offering, followed by Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. Support for Dash, Monero, Dogecoin, and ZCash also appears to be on the rise. Additionally, nearly four in ten Bitcoin ATMs let users both buy and sell cryptocurrency.

Manufacturer Competition Heats up

In the early days of the Bitcoin ATM industry, Lamassu was the most prominent company. That situation has changed over time. Its current market share sits at 10.96%, making it the third-most common manufacturer. Genesis Coin currently maintains a small lead over General Bytes.

Further down the list, names such as BitAccess, Coinsource, Covault, and OrderbobATM are also trying to increase their market position. New producers have also come to market over the years. BitxATM, CoinOutlet, Bitnovo, and DOBI ATM are just some of the up-and-coming manufacturers. This level of competition is another sign of Bitcoin’s maturity. Increasing exposure for cryptocurrency will be a vital aspect of reaching mainstream adoption.

One aspect of Bitcoin ATM services which needs to be improved upon is transaction fees. Buying cryptocurrency remains subject to an average fee of 8.85%. Selling cryptocurrency is slightly cheaper, at a cost of 7.9%. Compared to using normal exchanges, these costs are quite steep. At the same time, the level of convenience is very different. More convenience usually leads to higher premium fees in the financial industry.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, coinatmradar.com

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Lis 02

Germany Gets First Bitcoin ATM In Years (But How Long Will it Stay?)

Germany has received its first ever legally-sanctioned Bitcoin ATM (BTM) following a landmark legal ruling — but its longevity is already in doubt.


Munich Machine Hangs On Court Ruling

As t3n.de first reported October 30, the owner of a casino in Munich opted to import a BTM from Austria after a German court ruled cryptocurrency dealing was not subject to mandatory licensing.

Previously, those wishing to conduct business involving BTMs, as an example, had to get permission from financial regulator BaFin; ignoring this constituted an offense.

The situation changed last month when the Berlin Kammergericht overturned the authority of BaFin to decide such matters, deciding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency was not “money.”

That judgment led the Monte24 Casino and Video Store to set up its BTM, bringing it across the border from Austria, where cryptocurrency regulations have been more supportive for several years.

Bitcoinist_Bitcoin Adoption Germany

BaFin: We ‘Respectfully Acknowledge’ Court Decision

Due to the uncertain nature of the Kammergericht’s decision regarding the long-term ability of entities to operate BTMs and other cryptocurrency exchange services, however, its future is already hard to estimate, says t3n.

“Whether the ATM will be found in Munich for a longer period remains unclear and depends on how long the judgment can remain in force,” the publication reports.

Germany’s slow progress in acknowledging consumer interest in cryptocurrency has often led to frustration, especially viewed in contrast to well-known progressive neighbors Austria and Switzerland.

Attempts to operate BTMs in the country have previously ground to a halt over red tape, with installations several years ago all disappearing.

In an interview last week, BaFin said that while it “respectfully acknowledged” the court ruling, the issue as to whether cryptocurrency constituted a unit of account as per the law was a different matter.

President Felix Hufeld further called for an international push to regulate phenomena such as ICOs.

What do you think about Germany’s Bitcoin ATM? Let us know in the comments section below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Zář 26

Lamassu Unveils New Line of Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency ATMs

On September 24th, Lamassu announced the introduction of their new line of cryptocurrency ATMs to the public. Lamassu calls its new line of ATMs, “Sintra.” The ATMs herald a new line of ATMs as another crucial step in crypto’s march towards widespread consumer use and accessibility. 


Growing Industry

According to CoinATMrader.com, there are currently roughly 3,750 crypto ATMs installed worldwide. Lamassu has been producing cryptocurrency ATMs since 2013 when they produced their first, which was called the Bitcoin Machine.

While that number sounds impressive, and the number of the crypto ATMs installed continues to grow steadily, it is important to put that number in context. Information from Data.gov, for example, indicates that there are over 5,500 bank-owned ATMs in New York State alone. Crucially, this ATM count does not include independently managed ATMs at convenience stores and other retail locations.

Cost

Pricing for the new crypto ATM’s ranges from 5,200 EU for the cheapest Duoro II model, to 8,900 EU for the highest price Sintra Forte model. The mid-priced Sintra model costs 7,500 EU. The Duoro II model is the newest model of Lamassu’s original Crypto ATM, and features one-way fiat to crypto conversion, while both the Sintra and Sintra Forte feature two-way conversion.

The new models offer a bevy of features, designed to make buying and selling crypto through the machines as painless as possible. The machines feature a sleek, futuristic look, and are all crafted in Portugal. The body of the machines is crafted out of 2.5mm steel for extra durability.

Owners of these machines can configure their ATM’s to take almost any major currency, and support conversions from fiat to Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash.

While Lamassu does not directly facilitate transactions on the ATM, it does offer a backend exchange trading engine that can steer conversions to liquidity providers. Lamassu’s engine is currently connected to BitPay, Bitstamp, Kraken, and Coinbase.

Fees and Regulatory Issues

ATM operators have control over the fee structure charged by their machines and can profit by either charging direct fees or adjusting the spread charged by their liquidity provider.

On Lamassu’s website, the estimates indicate that a machine needs roughly $800-$1,000 worth of daily transactions to break-even. Lamassu estimates that the average monthly turnover on their machines is roughly $20,000 and rising.

The Sintra line of ATMs features numerous compliance features, but investors interested in purchasing and managing a machine need to do their due diligence regarding the legality of operating an ATM in their jurisdiction.

Prospective ATM operators in the United States must ensure they are following both federal and state laws. Bitcoin ATMs would currently fall under the criteria of “Exchangers,” according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In turn, they must register as “Money Service Businesses.” If you are interested in purchasing a machine in the United States, this primer is a handy starting point.

As interest in Crypto continues to grow among the retail investing community, ATMs will likely be a key “on-ramp” for investors into the crypto industry.

What do you think of Lamassu’s New ATMs? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock, Lamassu.is

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Led 19

Singapore Bitcoin ATMs Sold Out, Trading Still Allowed

· January 19, 2018 · 6:30 am

When markets are volatile and crashes occur, the majority of people are cashing out and taking profits or panic selling. There are some, however, who see opportunity in the sea of red and buy up at lower prices. This is exactly what has been happening in Singapore this week when Bitcoin ATM machines ran dry.


According to reports, Bitcoin machines in downtown Singapore sold out of the virtual currency yesterday as prices plummeted below $10,000 for the first time since the end of November.

Lions and Bulls

Amid more confusion over clampdowns across the Asia Pacific region, prices fell and markets dropped as much as 40% since highs just after New Year. Much of the impetus for crypto market prices originates in Southeast Asia where they are traded heavily. Western media outlets, such as Reuters and CNBC, amplify the FUD when they misreport about total clampdowns that have not occurred.

Singaporeans, however, remain unperturbed and have been snapping up the digital currency at low prices. One café manager who has a Bitcoin ATM told media:

We had to put an ‘out of service’ sign at our machine. Over the past two days, we’ve had 20 to 30 people line up, from about 10 on a usual day.

Bitcoin Exchange founder Zann Kwan, who owns two machines on the island state, said the buying frenzy was bigger in December as BTC approached record highs:

Sellers are holding back in anticipation of higher prices, so we have less bitcoin supply. Buyers on the other hand are hoping prices will crash some more, so they can buy.

Nobody Panic

Experienced crypto traders and Bitcoin investors will know that market corrections are nothing new. However, a wave of panic sets in when those who are new to the markets rush to sell off their crypto for fears of a complete collapse. The despair was wide-reaching with suicide helplines appearing in crypto groups in the US. Additionally, South Koreans posted pictures of smashed up computers in anger at their government’s constant indecision and threats to close exchanges.

The official stance of the Monetary Authority of Singapore was outlined to the media:

MAS regulates the activities that surround virtual currencies if those activities fall within our scope as a financial regulator. The risks surrounding virtual currency exchanges include those related to money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF). Virtual currency transactions, given their anonymous nature, are particularly vulnerable to abuse for ML/TF. MAS will therefore introduce anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism requirements on virtual currency intermediaries that deal in or facilitate the exchange of virtual currencies for real currencies. The regulations will extend to the exchange of virtual currency for fiat currency, or another virtual currency.

As in South Korea, the government wants more transparency and less anonymity with cryptocurrency trading. It does not want to shut it down.

Do you use Bitcoin ATMs to buy and sell? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Bitcoinist archives.

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Pro 12

Media Hyperventilates and Dubs Owner of Bitcoin ATMs the Bitcoin Bandit

· December 12, 2017 · 3:15 am

In the never-ending cycle of mainstream news casting the worst possible light upon Bitcoin, the owner of a UK Bitcoin ATM company has been dubbed the Bitcoin Bandit due to his criminal past.


Mainstream coverage of Bitcoin has always been pretty checkered. While some media outlets undertake responsible journalism to understand what cryptocurrency is and why people are flocking to use it, other outlets prefer to tie Bitcoin to criminal gangs, drug purchases, and money laundering. The most recent example of this is the Daily Mail dubbing the owner of a Bitcoin ATM business in the United Kingdom the “Bitcoin Bandit.”

A Violent Past

The Daily Mail was quite breathless in their account of Landry Ntahe, the owner of a Bitcoin ATM company in the UK called BCB ATM. From their account, the company owns and operates 19 Bitcoin ATM machines in various cities throughout England. However, it’s Ntahe’s criminal past that draws the attention of the news outlet.

From all accounts, Ntahe was sentenced to prison back in 2009 for his involvement in two violent robberies that saw the victims tortured. One of the victims had had his toes crushed with pliers whilst another had his teeth pulled out before having a metal pole rammed down his throat.

Pretty horrific stuff, but Landry Ntahe says that he did not take part in the violence and was only the driver. At the time of his conviction, Ntahe was 20 years old and was sentenced to five years in prison, of which he served two-and-a-half. His partners in crime, Arnold Epono (age 20) and Ashley Edwards (age 21), were convicted on 12 counts of robbery, fraud, and false imprisonment. They received indeterminate sentences.

Media Loves Linking Bitcoin to Crime

Since his release, Landry Ntahe seems to have cleaned up his act. He learned about Bitcoin from YouTube videos and started his company, BCB ATM, with loans from his family. When asked about his crimes, he told the Daily Mail:

I was young, naive and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve learned a lot since then and it’s given me further drive to make a success of life. I have gained a teaching qualification. I am now able to show others that you can get a second chance in life.

While the history of Ntahe is pretty lurid, one could say that he’s become a productive member of society and has steered away from a life of crime. Of course, the Daily Mail then goes into overdrive to link cryptocurrency to criminality.

They note that the frenzy surrounding the price of Bitcoin has led to a lot of investors speculating on the cryptocurrency, thus leading to an increased demand for easy access to it. They note that Bitcoin ATMs do not have to be registered in the UK, which, naturally leads to fears of Bitcoin being the “currency of choice of criminals.” The news outlet notes that payments can be made across borders to “criminal associates,” who can withdraw the money or use it on the DARK WEB!

Bitcoinist_Dark Web Drug Marketplace Bitcoin

The Daily Mail goes on to say that many of the 12 firms operating Bitcoin ATMs in the UK appear to not have any offices or have registered with the Companies House. They also note that many of the businesses only have a mobile phone number on their website. Of course, the most damning bit of information is that one of the ATMs owned by BCB ATM is located in a cannabis store! (Gasp!)

When pressed about the possibility of illegal activity associated with Bitcoin, Ntahe said:

People use bitcoin ATMs for various reasons, and sadly a minority of people do use it for unlawful purposes, like money laundering. As an industry, we must do more to make bitcoin secure and safer to use.

Overall, the crimes associated with Landry Ntahe are bad, and I’m not sugarcoating that. Yet it does appear that he has turned his life around, but the media just can’t help themselves at times to paint all of cryptocurrency with a criminal brush.

Could Bitcoin be used for bad things? Of course. But the same could be said for gold and fiat currency. I think a lot more dollars are spent on drugs in a single large city than Bitcoin for the same purpose in its entirety. It’s actually quite humorous to read such overly dramatic pearl-clutching about Bitcoin, but the sad reality is that many people will take such hack journalism as gospel.

Do you think Landry Ntahe has paid his debt to society and be allowed to operate Bitcoin ATMs? What do you think about the media’s coverage of cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Linkedin, Pixabay, and Bicoinist archives.

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