bitcoin atm
Image Source: Unsplash

In a rare break and enter event, two suspects attempted to steal a Bitcoin ATM machine out of a small deli in Kelowna, Columbia. After ramming a truck into the buildings entrance, the small mom and pop deli was forced to close operations until further notice. With popularity in traditional ATMs phasing out, Bitcoin ATM’s are surfacing around the globe as the world transitions into a digital economy. 

Bitcoin ATM Attempted Theft

According to a local media report, two suspects in Kelowna, Columbia attempted to steal a Bitcoin ATM machine out of a small deli. The name of the business was L&D Meats and Deli, but it was surprisingly not the original target. According to the report, the two suspects initially rammed a GMC pickup truck into L&D Meats which helped them get into the store next door called Mike’s Produce.

Inside Mike’s, the business had a Bitcoin ATM machine that the suspects were after. It is important to note that a Bitcoin ATM is similar to a traditional ATM machine, but they are connected to the internet opposed to a bank account. In doing so, users have access to the Bitcoin network, and can deposit cash to buy bitcoin, or they can withdrawal cash by selling BTC depending on the ATM model.

Failed Mission

For whatever reason, the two suspects were unable to secure the Bitcoin ATM, and ended up fleeing the scene. With L&D Meats and Deli taking the biggest hit damage wise, they were forced to close the store until further notice. Don Favell, the stores owner, said it was very unfortunate especially because this was prime time for customers putting in pre-orders for Thanksgiving. Since the Deli first opened up in 1996, it has only had one other issue pertaining to robbery. Despite the damage this stunt caused, Favell was positive about getting the Deli back to operational as soon as possible and had the following message for its clients…

“They will get their turkeys”

Bitcoin ATM Growth

As mentioned above, Bitcoin ATM installations have seen significant growth the last few years as more consumers are expressing interest in Bitcoin. A majority of these units are being installed in retail stores, restaurants, malls, and airports. With Bitcoin being a digital asset, these ATM machines are connected to internet exchanges where users insert cash and can purchase Bitcoin. Many of the newer models are now bi-directional, meaning users can either deposit cash to buy Bitcoin, or withdrawal cash by selling Bitcoin.

Bitcoin ATM installations surged 56% last year, with worldwide installations growing year over year.

bitcoin atm
Source: CoinATMRadar

According to data by CoinATMRadar, there are now 10,773 Bitcoin ATM’s in circulation. Back in October 2013, there were only 3. With popularity in Bitcoin increasing, there have already been a handful of theft attempts this year. The biggest misconception seems to be how these machines operate. Even though they may hold smaller amounts of cash like traditional ATM’s, people that steal these machines do not have access to actual bitcoin like they might believe. With Bitcoin being a digital asset, criminals that try to steal these machines might be getting a much smaller return than expected.

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