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Bitcoin Depot

latest release: 1.9.3 ( 20th October 2021 ) last analysed  8th November 2021 Custodial: The provider holds the keys 
4.1 ★★★★★
73 ratings
5 thousand
4th November 2020

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Please help us spread the word discussing the risks of centralized custodians with Bitcoin Depot  via their Twitter!

Do your own research!

Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.

If you find something we should include, you can create an issue or edit this analysis yourself and create a merge request for your changes.

The Analysis 

App Description

The Bitcoin Depot App provides maximum security while allowing all types of users to Get their Bitcoin in a Minute. With our app, we make it simple to locate the nearest BTM, buy bitcoin, sell bitcoin, and exchange many of the top cryptocurrencies in one easy place.

The Bitcoin Depot App also claims that it is a secure crypto wallet and blockchain app. Based on one of the critical reviews, it appears as though the app is not self-custodial.

Rambo Napaa
★☆☆☆☆ October 21, 2021
Recovery method is garbage. I moved account to new device no problem. Left it idle for a couple months, new device cannot log in through recovery method. Original device says same thing. Both devices must wait 1 week until auto log in initiates. Some kind of two factor issue blocks both. When I added my 1st $50 I only received almost $33. Reading the other reviews the app just screams trash. When I get access to my account I’m moving all the Satoshi to my other wallet that has better recovery.

The Site

The homepage explains how the app is meant to work.

  • Users are meant to create a digital wallet.
  • Users must sign up with Bitcoin Depot at one of the Bitcoin Depot ATMs.
  • Users should choose BTC, LTC, or ETH. The user must enter their wallet address and then insert cash.
  • Users will then receive the coins after the purchase is confirmed.

From the Terms, section 18.7:

Each User is granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable and limited license to access and use the Bitcoin Depot Offerings. Bitcoin Depot may terminate this license at any time for any reason.

From an article in the Help Center:

Bitcoin Depot’s BTM is to be used for personal purchases of crypto currency. You would need to send the Bitcoin from the machine to your personal wallet. Once the Bitcoin is in your wallet, you can send the Bitcoin to whomever you like!

A separate article states that it is possible to send and receive to a bitcoin address.

Below that is a long string of text which is also a copy of your address. You can copy the text-based address and send that out as well, allowing users to send payment to that particular address.

We found nothing in the Help Center suggesting that users may backup their wallets via mnemonics.

The App

We could not install this app. It is possible this was due to regional restrictions, as well as the Bitcoin Depot ATMs not being available in our region.

Verdict

Due to the information we have collected thus far, it is apparent that private keys are not provided, making this app custodial.

(dg)

Verdict Explained

As the provider of this product holds the keys, verifiability of the product is not relevant to the security of the funds!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Is the product self-custodial? If not, we tag it Custodial! 

A custodial service is a service where the funds are held by a third party like the provider. The custodial service can at any point steal all the funds of all the users at their discretion. Our investigations stop there.

Some services might claim their setup is super secure, that they don’t actually have access to the funds, or that the access is shared between multiple parties. For our evaluation of it being a wallet, these details are irrelevant. They might be a trustworthy Bitcoin bank and they might be a better fit for certain users than being your own bank but our investigation still stops there as we are only interested in wallets.

Products that claim to be non-custodial but feature custodial accounts without very clearly marking those as custodial are also considered “custodial” as a whole to avoid misguiding users that follow our assessment.

This verdict means that the provider might or might not publish source code and maybe it is even possible to reproduce the build from the source code but as it is custodial, the provider already has control over the funds, so it is not a wallet where you would be in exclusive control of your funds.

We have to acknowledge that a huge majority of Bitcoiners are currently using custodial Bitcoin banks. If you do, please:

  • Do your own research if the provider is trust-worthy!
  • Check if you know at least enough about them so you can sue them when you have to!
  • Check if the provider is under a jurisdiction that will allow them to release your funds when you need them?
  • Check if the provider is taking security measures proportional to the amount of funds secured? If they have a million users and don’t use cold storage, that hot wallet is a million times more valuable for hackers to attack. A million times more effort will be taken by hackers to infiltrate their security systems.
The product cannot be independently verified. If the provider puts your funds at risk on purpose or by accident, you will probably not know about the issue before people start losing money. If the provider is more criminally inclined he might have collected all the backups of all the wallets, ready to be emptied at the press of a button. The product might have a formidable track record but out of distress or change in management turns out to be evil from some point on, with nobody outside ever knowing before it is too late.