Bad news for the Dutch Bitcoin scene: a thief stole two of Amsterdam's Bitcoin-ATMs (BTMs). As of yet, the offenders have not been caught.
The two BTM's were stolen in the same week about a month ago. One of these machines is a two-way BitAccess BTM, worth about US$10,000, and was placed in a small Thai restaurant named Waries Thai Food. The second is a one-way General Bytes BATMtwo, worth some US$3,000, and was located at 't Hofje van Wijs, a bar in the Red Light District, which serves a dual role as the Bitcoin Embassy Amsterdam.
The news first broke this weekend, as Coin ATM Radar noticed the lack of activity from these machines to discover what happened, and send out a tweet regarding the thefts. “We wanted to keep the news on the down low at first, because we were afraid too much publicity could frustrate the police investigation,” Martin Wismeijer from the Dutch BTM-collective Mr.Bitcoin told CoinTelegraph.
Mr.Bitcoin owned the General Bytes BTM at the Bitcoin Embassy Amsterdam. Wismeijer explained:
“When I first heard the machine was stolen I was crushed, since I paid for it using my own savings. Furthermore, the way we set up our business is that local miners essentially sell their bitcoins through one of our machines, which they 'adopt.' This way, we don't need to rely on any banks, because we as a company nor the miners need a bank account. But it also means that the money inside of the BTMs was really the miner's money, so I feel really bad for him as well.”
Whoever stole the machines can't really use them, since they have serial numbers linking them to the original owners, and if they make contact with the internet either the owners or the producers of the machines will automatically be contacted. Neither will the thief be able to get any bitcoins out of the machines. So what's left is the cash money inside, but it's unclear how much that was. Wismeijer said:
“I don't personally know how much cash money was inside of our machine. Moreover, the miner who adopted our machine told me he'd rather have us be discrete about this, so even if I knew I wouldn't make it public.”
This sentiment was echoed by Waries Thai Food owner, Walter Duyvis:
“The owner of the machine was an American, I just hosted the BTM for a part of the commission. I would rather not disclose his name at this point, however, nor would I like to share how much money might have been in it.”
Although Wismeijer is sick of the whole ordeal, he said Mr. Bitcoin will continue to expand its business undaunted. Just last week, Mr. Bitcoin installed a General Bytes BATMone in Media Markt Amsterdam Arena, which is one of the largest electronics stores in Europe. Wismeijer commented:
“We will keep installing BTM's in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands, as we believe these machines are an important part of the Bitcoin ecosystem, and they help make bitcoin a little bit less virtual for ordinary people. We will just need to be a bit more selective on where exactly to place them. On top of that, newly placed BTM's will all be insured against theft.”
Whether a new machine will be placed in Waries Thai Food, however, remains to be seen. “I kind of hoped the new BTM would draw in new customers, but if it did at all, it was negligible, said Duyvis. “But some people have shown interest to install a new machine in our restaurant, so it is something we are considering.
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The two BTM’s were stolen in the same week about a month ago. One of these machines is a two-way BitAccess BTM, worth about US$10,000, and was placed in a small Thai restaurant named Waries Thai Food. The second is a one-way General Bytes BATMtwo , worth some US$3,000, and was […]