Bitcoin machines: Adaptation with pitfalls

There are now 6,003 Bitcoin machines worldwide. This means that the number of new crypto ATMs is rising sharply in 2019 – at the beginning of the year it was 4,113 BTC ATMs, at the beginning of 2017 it was only 2,057, as can be seen from the data from Coin ATM Radar.

Most of them are located in the United States – there are 3,932 BTC ATMs in the USA, another 722 in Canada. This means that North America accounts for the lion’s share of Bitcoin machines worldwide, and almost 75 percent of all machines are located there.

In the German-speaking area, Austria clearly leads the list of BTC ATMs. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s home is currently home to 193 Bitcoin ATMs. In Switzerland, there are again vending machines at 77 locations. There you can buy crypto currencies at the ticket machines of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).


Bitcoin vending machines: No easy situation in the Federal Republic of Germany

There are also vending machines in the Federal Republic of Germany where you can buy Bitcoin & Co. However, the whole thing does not yet work without restrictions. So one must identify oneself with amounts, which are higher than 500 euro, directly at the automat with its identity card. In the Blockchain Hotel in Essen, for example, you have to pay an entrance fee of 7.90 euros in addition to 4.5 percent fees.


Also legally the Bitcoin purchase does not run yet completely smooth at the automat. In October 2018, the Berlin Supreme Court ruled that Bitcoin trading was not punishable by law. The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) exceeded its authority by speaking out against the sale of crypto currencies. So far, Bitcoin trading has been regarded as legal – but it is still not excluded from any KYC regulations. In the coming year the Federal citizens can hope for more clarity. On 31 July 2019, the Federal Government decided that “custodians of digital assets” would be subject to financial supervision from 1 January 2020.


USA: Tax authority to take a closer look at vending machines

As the news magazine Bloomberg reports, the US tax authorities also want to take a closer look at Bitcoin machines in the future. The US magazine quotes the Criminal Investigation Chief of the Internal Revenue Service:


[…] “if you can go in, deposit cash and spend Bitcoin, of course we’re potentially interested in the person using the kiosk and what the source of the money is […]. You must comply with the same anti-money laundering regulations that apply to your customers, and we believe that some of them have different levels of compliance with these regulations”.