A friend was trying to send me bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM, she sent the funds to "her phone number" instead of my wallet QR code. The ATM indicated that Bitcoin was sent, but my friend doesn't even have a wallet address. It seems like a wallet address was generated for her and we don't know how to retrieve this bitcoin back, can you help?

  • Did she get a transaction ID (64-character hex code)? You can look it up on a site like blockchain.info and see what address the coins were actually sent to. Jun 17 '19 at 15:44
  • Did the ATM provide a receipt? What's on it? (Do not share any exact numbers or codes on the receipt. Just generally describe what's on it!) Jun 18 '19 at 21:49
  • Have you tried contacting the ATM operator?
    – Murch
    Jun 23 '19 at 19:35

it seems like a wallet address was generated for her

This seems most likely to me. An ATM should not allow the destination/receiving address to be empty or to contain something that is not a valid bitcoin-address (e.g. a phone number would be rejected)

A phone number might be requested for an online custodial wallet service with two-factor authentication (2FA) - if so you'd need to find out the URL of the service, and the corresponding username and password or other credentials.

If your friend doesn't have a printed receipt with some details on it, it is likely that the money is now forever inaccessible.

I would

  • try to find a printed receipt
  • contact the ATM owner (although I would not expect them to be able to help)
  • visit the ATM with your friend and try to recreate what happened with the minimum possible amount of money as a test.

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