Are there bitcoin ATMs in the US?
The number of bitcoin ATMs has exploded in recent years with over 36,000 worldwide. The vast majority of them are in the US popping up where you shop.
New bitcoin ATMs have been popping up across the United States where people can buy and sell a range of cryptocurrencies. The number has grown more than sixfold in the past two years to over 32,000 nationwide according to Coin ATM Radar.
Currently, the machines are owned by private companies and mostly located in local convenience stores and gas stations. However, well-known companies like Circle K and Walmart have started installing them.
Bitcoin ATM locations in the US
Just about anywhere you go in the United States you can find a bitcoin ATM not too far away looking at Coin ATM Radar locator. The machines allow people, especially those who are less tech savvy, an easier way to buy and sell digital currencies than going through a cryptocurrency exchange website. Customers can deposit money into the bitcoin ATMs and have it sent to a crypto wallet.
The virtual currency kiosks will be even more convenient to find as Circle K and Walmart roll them out at their stores across the US. In 2020, the world's largest convenience store chain, Circle K, began installing bitcoin ATMs in its stores provided by Bitcoin Depot. Now the company has over 700 machines in locations in 30 states.
Walmart started a limited rollout in October 2021 with 200 Coinstar virtual currency kiosks at various locations around the US. Coinstar, which has partnered with digital currency exchange and bitcoin ATM operator CoinMe, is known for its machines that can exchange physical coins for cash. The largest brick and mortar retailer plans to install 8,000 machines nationwide in the coming months.
Law enforcement warns of criminals targeting bitcoin ATMs
This proliferation also comes with risks allowing criminals to perform transactions with relative ease and in a largely anonymous manner. According to law enforcement officials the ATMs are being used for drug and human trafficking, money laundering along with a variety of fraud.
Although bitcoin ATM operators are required to register with the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network the regulations are lax in many states. Users can make sizeable transactions, in some cases up to $900, while providing no more than a cellphone number to identify themselves.
The cryptocurrency industry wants to establish guardrails
The federal government is looking into how to regulate cryptocurrencies and digital assets. President Biden signed an executive order in March directing agencies across the government to coordinate their efforts to develop “a comprehensive, all-of-government framework to address the emerging risks and opportunities,” White House economic advisor Brian Deese said.
Those within the cryptocurrency industry see a need to tackle the sinister use of the machines as well. A consortium of companies has formed the Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative. The organization wants to see “universal compliance standards in the cash-to-cryptocurrency industry.”
A lack of “Know Your Customer” and “Customer Identification Program” requirements allows questionable transactions to go unnoticed by cryptocurrency providers. Minimal compliance to standards by cryptocurrency companies also expose banks, which take their deposits, to anti-money laundering and high-risk fraud violations according to the Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative.