Despite the higher fees associated with buying or selling Bitcoin via specialized Bitcoin ATMs, quicker and more reliable delivery have seen rising popularity for the machines in the United States, even as ATM networks struggle to expand within strict regulations in the country.
RockItCoin, one of the biggest Bitcoin ATM providers in the US, told Bitcoin News that its network of 125 machines is a critical piece of infrastructure that turns Bitcoin into a real currency that can easily be traded back and forth for the US dollar.
From only seven machines in December 2015 taking days to get even a single transaction, RockItCoin has seen demand spiking with USD 300,000 monthly volumes and rising. Today, RockItCoin is in 13 states and is planning on expanding nationwide.
Dependable Bitcoin exchange
RockItCoin chief operating officer and co-founder Ben Phillips acknowledges that using Bitcoin ATMs are pricier but give users the benefit of reliability. Apparently, one of RockItCoin’s biggest problems is customers that send Bitcoin from exchanges to the ATM report long delays and get frustrated, because exchanges can take hours to broadcast a transaction to the blockchain. This is unlike RockItCoin Bitcoin ATMs, which send Bitcoin instantly after payment, and dispense cash exactly when the first transaction confirmation occurs, which takes an average of ten minutes.
The author of this article regularly uses the local RockItCoin Bitcoin ATM to convert Bitcoins into US dollar and confirms that an exchange cashes out in about ten minutes.
Bitcoin demand to overcome regulatory challenges
“I think Bitcoin will be the main cryptocurrency and will be the cryptocurrency that gains the most value long term… Bitcoin will continue to gain acceptance, and that it will only take one or two major retailers like Starbucks to adopt Bitcoin for it to gain major momentum,” said Phillips.
This is because it has the most user base and demand, and with the proper scalability solution like Lightning Network, Bitcoin could handle the entire world financial system. He expects acceptance by major retailers to occur within the next 18 months and believes Bitcoin will eventually replace credit cards.
Simultaneously, Phillips sees that there is a battle between governments and Bitcoin. Bitcoin can solve major problems in third world countries that are dealing with hyperinflation and lack of banking, but even first world governments like the US are making Bitcoin exchanging difficult via regulations, which hurts adoption worldwide. RockItCoin goes through extensive audits from banks and the government constantly, which is time-consuming and expensive.
Prudence necessary for growth
Phillips says the government’s main concern is to stop money laundering for terrorism and this stems back to the fear from the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. He agrees that the government is fearful that it will lose power over currency due to Bitcoin and that’s the true reason for regulations.
The co-founder says that for the world to fully benefit from Bitcoin, regulations need to become more reasonable so that there are no problems exchanging Bitcoin for fiat. He explains that RockItCoin is a fully licensed Money Service Business but is forced to use small banks as big banks like Chase and Wells Fargo won’t even work with RockItCoin or other major Bitcoin ATM providers. This makes it difficult for Bitcoin ATM networks to expand and evolve, and is the reason there’s only a handful of nationwide Bitcoin ATM networks in the United States.
It takes significant funding to obtain proper licensing as a Bitcoin ATM operator, in addition to constant legal fees. Ben thinks that many Bitcoin ATM networks get halted and crippled as they grow from a handful of machines to a medium-sized network. However, if an operator can successfully transition to a larger network like RockItCoin, then it can be a profitable business model.
Bitcoin as a currency
Phillips thinks Bitcoin ATMs are essential for adoption and will play a major role in the next rally, as people recognize and know how to use them.
He brings up an interesting point, that Bitcoin should be a currency and not an investment tool. RockItCoin sees Bitcoin as a transaction vehicle, not an investment, and the co-founder thinks it could be damaging for Bitcoin for investors to hold onto large amounts because this limits the coins in circulation.
He also believes that Bitcoin dealers were very important to get Bitcoin adoption started but that Bitcoin ATMs are the next level and are better than the dealer system. This is especially because RockItCoin has full support to help people get started with Bitcoin, since most new users need an expert to guide them.
Despite faith in Bitcoin, Phillips doesn’t think the US dollar will collapse, calling it “the best of the worst” that will take “a new generation of politicians” to effect any change or transformation on the world’s most-used currency.
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Image Courtesy: RockItCoin
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