Bitcoin ATM FAQ

Service types

What are different service types listed on the site?

The site lists locations where bitcoins can be bought with cash, or sold for cash. There are many various types of services, which we sum up in three main categories:

  • Bitcoin ATM: a dedicated device to buy and / or sell cryptocurrency for cash. There are several criteria used to detect if a location is a bitcoin ATM:
    1. The transaction should happen immediately, means if you buy bitcoins with cash -- bitcoins to be sent to your wallet at the moment of transaction.
    2. There should be an automated process, without human (like cashier) assistance. Usually it is a separate standing device, which can be used solely by customer (starting with initiating step and finishing by receiving bitcoins/cash).
    3. The machine should be solely dedicated to cryptocurrency operations, and is not supposed to be used for other services.
  • OTC, cashier, teller: A location where bitcoin can be purchased or sold over the counter from a cashier. Conveniently, the transaction takes place immediately and solely at the location. At some locations, the customer may also purchase a coupon code/gift card which can be converted to bitcoin at a later date, or transaction has to be initiated not by cashier (e.g. on the site of provider). These services fall under the "Other Services" category.
  • Other services: Every other type of location, which allows to buy or sell bitcoins for cash not listed above.

Bitcoin ATM Status

What does the status of the bitcoin machine mean?

Based on the user feedback for bitcoin ATMs one of the following statuses is assigned to bitcoin machines:

  • Not yet launched – ATM is planned, but not yet launched
  • New / Available – newly installed bitcoin ATM
  • Available – bitcoin machine is operational
  • Longlasting Available – operational for more than 3 months without reported problems
  • Might be non-working – potentially might not work, check additionally before visiting
  • Temporary outage – some users reported as non-working
  • Off / Moved / Closed – many users reported machine as non-operational
  • Have not heard in a while – there were no upvotes for a long time

Known scams

Can I buy bitcoin for someone else?

If you have been asked to purchase bitcoin for another individual or company, you may be the victim of an elaborate scam.

There are usually two ways people get scammed:

1. Victims are contacted via email or phone and suggested a job opportunity, and are then e-transferred large sums of money to their bank account (usually around $3K). They are then asked to withdraw the cash (leaving some minor amount as fee for work) and use it to purchase bitcoin as part of an employment application process (usually via bitcoin ATM), or deposit funds to particular bitcoin QR address, which is the same.

The thieves usually offer a reward of $50-$100 for the victim's assistance. A few days later the money sent via the e-transfer is linked to a stolen bank account and the transfer is reversed, leaving the victim with a negative balance and no bitcoins.

Source: Tobitcoin FAQ and Krebs on Secutiry article. Here is one of many posts on reddit with details of how a person was scammed.

2. Another way people are scammed is over some unbelievably cheap offering, usually of relatively still at large purchase price, e.g. used car listing on craiglist or ebay at a price 2 times lower than the market's.

The person is then asked to make a bitcoin payment to the given QR code, and usually bitcoin ATMs are used as a medium to make such payment. After bitcoins are sent seller disappears leaving the customer without funds, as bitcoin payments are not reversible.

Source: Athena Bitcoin support and Rockitcoin helpdesk.