The number of crypto ATMs doubled in 2018 from 2,025 ATMs in 2017 to 4,051 ATMs, according to data from cryptocurrency analytics firm DataLight. This reflects an increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies in general, despite the market downturn in digital asset values.
The U.S. is the dominant country with 70 new installations, Peru, Albania and South Korea had their first bitcoin ATMs installed in November. In total, 209 new machines were installed by operators all across the world, albeit 68 bitcoin ATMs were closed in November.
According to the security researchers at Trend Micro, lack of security standards makes Bitcoin ATMs easy to hack. The researchers discovered malware that targets a service vulnerability in bitcoin ATMs, selling for $25,000, in an underground forum.
“Unlike regular ATMs, there is no single set of verification or security standards for Bitcoin ATMs. For example, instead of requiring an ATM, credit, or debit card for transactions, a Bitcoin ATM involves the use of mobile numbers and ID cards for user identity verification,” a senior researcher at Trend Micro, Fernando Merces, commented on the vulnerability.