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Bitcoin ATMs Surge in U.S.: A Tale of Convenience and Illicit Exploitation

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Shivani Chauhan
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Bitcoin ATMs Surge in U.S.: A Tale of Convenience and Illicit Exploitation

Amid the cryptocurrency boom, Bitcoin ATMs, often referred to as BTMs, have seen a remarkable surge in the United States, especially between 2020 and mid-2022. As of the latest count, there were an impressive 34,000 BTMs scattered across the country, offering customers the convenience of buying Bitcoin with cash. This rise is largely credited to the rapid transaction capabilities of these machines, making them a popular choice for remittances and online purchases.

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The BTM Boom and the Cryptocurrency Craze

As the world grappled with the unpredictable waves of the pandemic, the digital realm surfaced as a haven for many. The cryptocurrency craze took flight, and with it, the demand for accessible and efficient transaction methods. BTMs emerged as a significant player in this arena. Bitcoin Depot, boasting the largest network of BTMs in the U.S., reports that a significant two-thirds of their customers use these machines for online transactions and remittances.

Criminal Exploitation of BTMs

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However, the story of BTMs is not without its shadowy corners. The swift transaction capability of BTMs, while a boon for legitimate users, presents an attractive lure for illicit activities. Scammers have been quick to exploit these kiosks to expedite fraudulent transactions. Authorities have taken note of this criminal use and are actively devising strategies to combat the associated crimes.

Walgreens and the BTM Revolution

Walgreens, a popular destination for a diverse range of needs, from pharmaceuticals to everyday essentials, has embraced the BTM revolution. Approximately 7,000 Walgreens stores across the U.S. now host ATMs that not only offer traditional banking services but also provide the ability to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. These modern ATMs even offer mobile send/receive cash capabilities. Some have even integrated Amazon Cash functionality, allowing customers to add money directly to their Amazon balance.

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