Julian Dixon, CEO of Fortytwo Data, specialists in combating money laundering, said: ‘The UK is several steps behind the criminals and playing catch-up.Scare stories about the use of Bitcoin on the Dark Web have been common since its inception.‘We get ten to 20 people using the ATM a day.‘It’s not unusual for people to put in £10,000 in a day.We have had everyone from businessmen trying to hide from the taxman, to college students, to immigrants sending money home.‘I’ve had to close the shop for half an hour and get the machine emptied and filled again so that one guy could deposit £14,000 in one go.‘There is a £500 limit per transaction on the machine, but the number of transactions you can do a day is limitless.‘You don’t get to hear what the money is for, but it would not surprise me if drug dealers were using it.‘There was one drug dealer I heard that was about to get caught so he put everything he had into Bitcoin.When he came out of prison, the value had gone up so much he bought a house.’He said he believed Bitcoin was used to make purchases on the Dark Web – the secret part of the internet frequented by, among others, pornographers, criminals and terrorists.Daniel Jenkinson, who owns The Vapour Trail in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, has seen more than £100,000 deposited at his vape store’s Bitcoin ATM in the past three months.There are now 98, with locations including a cannabis shop in Croydon, a vaping store in Tunbridge Wells, a fish and chip shop in Brighton and a food store in Derby.
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He said 90 per cent of users are either business people or curious investors.
His machine is provided by Alpha Vend, which pays him 30 per cent of the commission it makes on every deposit.
It is unregulated, hard to trace and exists only in cyberspace in the form of a numerical code.
It can be exchanged anonymously with anyone in the world at the click of a mouse.