The number of automatic teller machines (ATMs) for purchasing and selling Bitcoin (BTC) is growing by 10% on a monthly basis, according to Coin ATM Radar, a company specialized for studying the Bitcoin ATM market. Since the beginning of this year, the number of Bitcoin ATMs rose from 2,000 units to 3,000 units distributed around the world. The experts estimate the number of Bitcoin ATMs will reach 6,300 units by the end of this year.
In a statistical study published by Coin ATM Radar, the company presented the evolution of the Bitcoin ATMs (BATMs) since the first ATM installed back in 2014. It took around three years to install the first one thousand units. This number was reached at the beginning of last year, on February 16th, 2017.
The study also shows that the rhythm of growth is not linear, because by the end of last year, the number of BATMs reached 2,000 units. In other words, it took three times longer to install the first thousand units than to install the next one thousand units and get to 2,000 BATMs installed around the world.
Next, it took only five months to go from 2,000 to 3,000 units. The approximate average growth on a monthly basis is 10%. This way, the estimates say there would be around 6,300 BATMs installed by the end of this year on a global level, which means the current number will be more than doubled in only seven months.
The first ten countries in terms of number of BATMs are: United States with 1696 BATMs, Canada 447, Austria 157, United Kingdom 120, Czech Republic 46, Switzerland 25, Spain 42, Netherlands 24, Hong Kong 13 and Italy with 23 Bitcoin ATMs installed.
Even though the term Bitcoin ATM is used, there are ATMs capable of managing other cryptocurrencies as well. The following list shows the distribution of these ATMs based on the cryptocurrency they accept: Bitcoin is managed by 2873 BATMs, altcoins are managed by 1428 units, out of which Bitcoin Cash is managed by 451 ATMs, Litecoin 1340, Ether 776, Dash 272, Monero 29, Dogecoin 24 and Zcash is managed by 38 ATMs.
The study concluded with the following: “The prices continued to fluctuate in April this year. Manufacturer market is leaded by two main companies, with General Bytes chasing Genesis Coin with respect to number of installations. Operators continue to install many new machines, as figures don’t fall below 7-8 new installations daily. Bitcoin ATMs installed in new countries, where there were no machines before, in April it was Zimbabwe and Guatemala. Approximately half of all bitcoin ATMs also support one or several other cryptocurrencies. In April 2018 the most growing adoption apart from Bitcoin was support for Bitcoin Cash.”
A Bitcoin ATM is not necessarily an automatic teller machine like the traditional ATMs that are connected to a bank and dispense cash, among other banking operations. In this case, a Bitcoin ATM or an ATM associated with some other cryptocurrency, has an internet connection to a cryptocurrency exchange and accepts payments in cash or with credit card, in the case when users would like to purchase cryptocurrencies. After the purchase, the cryptocurrencies are transferred to the wallet designated by the user. When it comes to the sale of cryptocurrencies through a specialized ATM, the machine delivers an amount of money equivalent to the exchange rate at the moment of the sale and deducts a commission. Moreover, there are bidirectional ATMs that can be used to purchase and sale cryptocurrencies, as well as unidirectional ATMs that can be used for one of the two aforementioned operations.
We can say the Bitcoin ATMs are still in their infancy, especially if we know that Bitcoin is still living its first decade of existence. The decentralized nature of the cryptocurrencies allows us to suppose we will see many more applications integrate into the Bitcoin ATMs in the medium and long-term basis.
The first traditional ATM was launched in 1967 and it took some time before people were aware of the advantages and accepted that novelty. The same thing applies to the Bitcoin ATMs.