Matthew Klinger, a 51-year-old resident of Jefferson City, Missouri, recently avoided a prison sentence after admitting to shooting a bitcoin ATM with a handgun. Although it remains unclear whether the machine had any faults, Klinger stated that he did it “so that it could not take money from anyone else.”
In August of last year, Klinger visited Vapor Maven on Missouri Boulevard and requested to speak with the store’s general manager. After hanging up, he pulled out a handgun and fired five rounds into the bitcoin ATM before leaving the scene. Upon returning home, Klinger confessed to his wife and called the police. He even left the weapon on the porch of his home.
Klinger received five years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to first-degree property damage in Cole County. Supervised probation is an alternative to jail time, but it can become a prison sentence if the offender violates the court’s ruling.
The number of bitcoin ATMs has increased significantly in recent years, with the first machine having been installed in October 2013. Currently, there are over 35,000 bitcoin ATMs across the globe, with the United States leading the way with 32,650. Canada is second with 2,669, followed by Australia with 276. Spain, Poland, and El Salvador round out the top five.
The bull market and high interest in crypto in 2021 led to more than 20,000 new ATMs being set up. This trend even spread to countries with troubled economies, such as Cambodia, Namibia, Venezuela, and Lebanon. However, the crypto winter of 2022 has slowed down the installation of new ATMs, with only 6,100 being set up in the first 11 months of last year.
Overall, it is clear that the use of bitcoin ATMs is becoming increasingly popular, though the recent crypto winter has caused a slight slowdown in installations. In the case of Matthew Klinger, it is fortunate that he was able to avoid a prison sentence due to the supervised probation he received. It remains to be seen whether this incident will have any lasting effects on the use of bitcoin ATMs.