Are BTMs for Criminals, or Alpaca Farmers?
Do BTMs Attract Criminals?
BTMs are Bitcoin Teller Machines (also known as Bitcoin ATMs). But in the eyes of many, BTM should probably stand for “Big Time Magnet,” or even “Bad Thug Magnet,” because all they do is attract criminal activity, right?
You’d be surprised, actually. We talked to Raquel Shingleton, VP of Compliance and Chris McAlary, CEO of Coin Cloud, to get the real scoop.
“We ensure that the company is compliant Federally, state and local level,” explains Shingleton. “We research business license requirements. We will determine MTL (Money Transmission Law) applicability and we will enforce our robust AML (Anti-Money Laundering) program.”
That program was designed to prevent criminals from using Coin Cloud services. “I know that some people think that Bitcoin isn’t traceable, but that’s just simply not true,” Shingleton says. “We use Blockchain Forensic Tools where we can trace the wallet address. So, we know where the address came from and we know where the address went, and this is really helpful for us so that we can ensure that the wallet address isn’t associated with any illegal activity.”
In actuality, “Bitcoin is much better than cash in terms of preventing illicit activity,” McAlary insists. As more blockchain analysis tools are developed, that fact is becoming increasingly accepted by law enforcement, regulators, the general public … and criminals.
As a result, only approximately 1% of all Coin Cloud BTM activity is criminal. And the other 99%? It’s pretty boring stuff, like buying socks.
How Do People Use Bitcoin?
“I would say our customers primarily use it to remit money to friends, family, buy things on the internet you actually can’t buy otherwise through a credit card or with cash,” says McAlary. “One of the first things I bought with Bitcoin was alpaca socks from Peruvian villagers. Because they don’t have credit card processing machines there, and you can directly send it to this person’s wallet.” All the vendor needs in her little village in the Andes Mountains is internet access to be paid this way.