Verification process for Bitcoin ATMs, wtf?

Bitcoin Questions and AnswersCategory: QuestionsVerification process for Bitcoin ATMs, wtf?
Tom asked 4 months ago

I was pondering using a bitcoin atm to get some coins, but every atm near me has some kind of identity verification process.   At the very least, you have to enter your phone number, get texted a code, then enter the code… then you can use the atm to buy bitcoins with cash (online sms burner numbers don’t work).
The ATM (and it’s owner) now has your phone number along with the other transaction details.
Assuming the btc you just got is now associated with your phn num, my question is, how can that association be found out?  Is it stored in the blockchain? Is it somehow public?  Or is it in the atm’s private company records?  Will your phn number still be tied to those bitcoins after they leave your possession?  okokokok… i guess what im asking is this:   If you get the coins with SMS verification, do you still have to tumble them to be anonymous?
Thanks for making this website.  I’m reading and learning as much as I can,  but some stuff I just don’t understand.

1 Answers
Ofir Beigel Staff answered 4 months ago

Hey Tom, the short answer is Yes.
If you connect your Bitcoin address to any identifying piece of info, in this case your phone number, the government can effectively ask the ATM operator to hand over their records and know who those Bitcoins belong to.
The phone number isn’t stored on the blockchain, the ATM provider probably holds it on their own records as part of their regulation. So if you want to stay completely anonymous you’d have to use a mixer after getting the coins.
Take this advice with a grain of salt as I’ve never operated an ATM and all of this is based on my common sense.
Good luck!

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