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There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World

The U.S. remains easily the largest market for the machines as competition for new bitcoin on-ramps continues to heat up.

The total number of bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) worldwide reached 5,000 for the first time, monitoring resource CoinATMRadar confirmed on June 24.

According to the latest statistics, there are now 5,006 standalone BTMs in around 90 countries, where cryptocurrency users can buy or sell bitcoin (BTC). Some machines offer both services simultaneously. 

The data caps a protracted period of growth in the BTM sector, with the U.S. leading the trend as more and more locations and formats appear. 

June has seen a total of 150 installations, around 6 per day. General Bytes recently overtook Genesis Coin as the manufacturer with the largest number of BTMs installed.

As Cointelegraph reported, in 2019, it is not just the ‘classic’ BTM model which is expanding, but other methods of procuring BTC. A deal earlier in the year involving coin counting kiosk operator Coinstar brought bitcoin functionality to over 2,200 U.S. locations. 

The U.S. currently has more than half of the world’s BTMs at 3,229, with a new pilot scheme this month bringing the machines to Circle K convenience stores in Arizona and Nevada.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with a respected organization like Circle K,” Marc Grens, president and co-founder of cryptocurrency provider DigitalMint said in a press release issued June 20. 

“This partnership opens the door for massive expansion of Bitcoin access to new markets around the globe.”

Increasing competition in the BTM market is likely to reduce the fees charged to users, which tend to be noticeably higher than online alternatives. 

Other in-person options, such as buying vouchers, are also gaining popularity with users keen on avoiding burdensome identity requirements.

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Bitcoin Purchases Roll Out to 2,200 US Coinstar Kiosks as Partnership Expands

ATM operator Coinme has added around 100 extra locations to its Coinstar setup, which allows users to buy bitcoins for cash.

Bitcoin ATM operator Coinme has expanded its bitcoin (BTC) purchasing options for United States residents to cover 21 states, the company confirmed in a press release on May 22.

Coinme, which began as the U.S.’s first licensed bitcoin ATM provider in 2014, will now serve around 2,200 locations in the country via its existing partnership with coin kiosk operator Coinstar.

As Cointelegraph reported, Coinstar first started selling bitcoin for USD in January this year, so far restricting the feature to the U.S. market.

“Bitcoin and other digital currencies offer unique benefits to consumers — including the potential for more cost-effective and faster remittances to family and friends,” Neil Bergquist, Coinme cofounder and CEO, commented in the press release.

The feature is integrated into participating Coinstar machines, with users able to convert up to $2,500 to bitcoin using a Coinme account. Trades are subject to a flat 4% fee.

According to monitoring resource CoinATMRadar, there are now over 3,000 bitcoin ATM or teller points available in the U.S., making it easily the global leader.

Second is Canada, with just under 700 locations, followed by Austria with 270 and the United Kingdom on 238 known locations.

Traditionally, cryptocurrency users have preferred online methods of changing in and out of assets, with the physical ATM sector nonetheless seeing rapid expansion in recent times.

“The response to being able to purchase Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks has been extremely positive with overwhelming demand by both consumers and new retailer partners,” Coinstar CEO, Jim Gaherity, added.

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Report: Ready-to-Use Malware for Bitcoin ATMs Found for Sale Online

Tokyo-based security software manufacturer Trend Micro has found Bitcoin (BTC) automated teller machine (ATM) malware available for purchase online, according to a blog post published August 7.

In the blog post, Trend Micro cites an advertisement posted by an “apparently established and respected” user on a darknet forum. For the price of $25,000, criminals could purchase Bitcoin ATM malware accompanied by a ready-to-use card with EMV and near-field communication (NFC) capabilities.

EMV chips were originally developed by leading credit card providers to store data on integrated circuits rather than magnetic stripes, while NFC enables two electronic devices to wirelessly exchange information.

The malicious software reportedly exploits a Bitcoin ATM vulnerability, which allows fraudsters to receive the BTC equivalent of up to 6,750 U.S. dollars, euros, or pounds. According to Trend Micro, the seller has received over 100 online reviews both for the malware and other products.

Another forum thread showed that the seller also offers regular ATM malware that has been updated for EMV standards. Further research reportedly revealed that the malware exploits a menu vulnerability to disconnect an ATM from the network in order to disable alarms. In conclusion, Trend Micro suggested:

“As long as there is money to be made — and there is quite a bit of money in cryptocurrencies — cybercriminals will continue to devise tools and to expand to lucrative new ‘markets.’ As the number of Bitcoin ATMs grows, we can expect to see more forms of  malware targeting cryptocurrency ATMs in the future.”

Another recent study conducted by cybersecurity company Duo Security revealed a network of thousands of crypto-related scam bots on Twitter, advertising fake “giveaways.” The project involved 88 million Twitter accounts, with researchers using machine learning techniques to train a bot classifier. The classifier unearthed 15,000 bots spreading fake competitions and impersonating some of the cryptocurrency industry’s best-known figures and businesses.

In July, Valve Corporation removed a game from its Steam video game marketplace that allegedly hijacked users’ computers to mine Monero. Steam took action following complaints from a number of users who said that the game setup file seemed to include a Trojan virus and malware disguised as steam.exe processes and launcher.