As the acceptability of the digital coins and cryptocurrency spreads globally, Bitcoin.com reports that there is also an increase in the availability of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that support the digital currency.
This trend is despite incidences of fraud which has necessitated calls for more security measures and regulations around digital currencies.
According to CoinATMRadar, the number of newly installed Bitcoin ATMs has continued to grow at a stable rate this year. A January 2020 report shows that there were 6377 operating devices around the world when the year began. 432 machines were launched during the month, while only 104 were closed, representing a net growth of 5.1 percent.
According to the report by Bitcoin.com, Bitcoin itself has risen from a price of below $7000 since the starting days of January to about $10,000 in February, an increase that many attributed to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, which further shifted interest is returning to the crypto space. More people are seemingly looking to invest in digital assets.
Bitcoin ATMs are an accessible way to acquire cryptos for those who are looking to enter the ecosphere, and, according to Google Trends, people have been asking for this type of thing more and more in the last few years.
Most of the machines allow you to buy and sell multiple currencies. Bitcoin core (BTC) is the most widely supported Bitcoin on all but three of the 6833 active ATMs for obvious reasons. Around two-thousand devices currently offer Bitcoin cash. Other currencies being offered in cash by certain devices include zcash (ZEC), dogecoin (DOGE) and monero (XMR), though these currencies have decreased in relation to Bitcoin within the ATMs.
The US is currently the country with the highest number of Bitcoin ATMs, having the vast majority at 4874. They are followed by Canada at 742 and the UK with 306. Nigeria is yet to fully accept the use of the digital currency. In South Africa, there are currently seven Bitcoin ATMs. one in Johannesburg, two in Pretoria, one in Nelspruit and three in Cape Town.
It would be recalled that in October 2018, a series of cases of Bitcoin ATM fraud rocked Australia. The fraud, which was blamed on lack of awareness, saw scammers that managed to con upwards of $50,000 from Australian citizens, luring them in to pay off a non-existent debt in a classic fraud. Local news media reports say at least four victims from eastern Melbourne fell for the trick.
Purportedly, the scammers would call the victims and convince them that they have an outstanding tax debt and that, if they don’t pay it through a Bitcoin ATM in Braybrook, they will be jailed. The victims would then withdraw their savings from their bank accounts, travel to Brabryook’s Bitcoin ATM and pay off the fake debt to a specified Bitcoin account.
According to the police, this type of scheme targets vulnerable people who are easily convinced that their immigration status is threatened.