Category Archives: Bitcoin ATM

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Bitcoin ATM Industry Set to Breach 4,000 Machines Worldwide

The number of Bitcoin ATMs sits at 3,989 on CoinATMRadar as of 11 November 2018 and at the average installation rate of 6.29 Bitcoin ATMs per day, the total worldwide should pass 4,000 over the next few days. The number of Bitcoin ATMs has been growing exponentially, with a 100% increase likely in 2018. This article analyzes the Bitcoin ATM industry by type of ATM, cryptocurrencies offered, countries and manufacturers.

There are only two fundamental types of cryptocurrency ATMS, 1-way which offer buying services and 2-way which offer buy and sell. There are 2,038 1-way ATMs, and 1,081 2-way machines. While 1-way Bitcoin ATMs are important, 2-way models are more optimized for spreading cryptocurrency adoption, since these turn Bitcoin into a currency that can be used in everyday life, allowing users to sell cryptocurrency for essential things like food and rent.

Just about all (99.9%) cryptocurrency ATMs offer Bitcoin: 2,335 offer Litecoin, 1,799 offer Ether, 1,302 offer Bitcoin Cash, 693 offer Dash, 82 offer Monero, 70 offer Dogecoin, and 56 offer Zcash. These are the most popular and reputable cryptocurrencies and at this time, no ATM offers all possible cryptocurrencies.

North America dominates the Bitcoin ATM industry with 2,371 in the United States and 677 in Canada. This leaves fewer than 1,000 in the rest of the world.

Europe is in second place, with 248 in Austria, 208 in the United Kingdom, 77 in Russia, 67 in Spain, 67 in the Czech Republic, 42 in Switzerland, 38 in Italy, 35 in Slovakia, 26 in Poland, 25 in the Netherlands, 23 in Romania, 19 in Finland, 18 in Greece, 13 in Slovenia, 12 in Hungary, and surprisingly, only 2 in France and 1 in Germany. Despite its second place in continental rankings, they are still considered a rarity in Europe.

Outside North America and Europe, less than 5% of Bitcoin ATMs can be found. The massive continent of Asia only has 100 machines – fewer than 1 ATM for every major city. An outlier in the Middle East is the tiny country of Israel, which has 8 Bitcoin ATMs. Australia has 55, and New Zealand has a mere 2. South America has fewer than 40 Bitcoin ATMs, and Africa fewer than 10.

While the Bitcoin ATM industry is booming, these figures clearly show that Bitcoin ATMs are a rarity in most of the world, and there is a vast amount of room for the industry to grow. Aside from in the United States and Canada, it is still the very early days for the Bitcoin ATM industry.

As far as manufacturers go, Genesis Coin and General Bytes dominate the global Bitcoin ATM industry with over 1,000 each. Lamassu, BitAccess, Coinsource, and Covault have more than 100 Bitcoin ATMs each. Beyond this, there are 38 manufacturers with fewer than 100 Bitcoin ATMs, 4 of which have no machines deployed yet. Although the deployment number for some of these manufacturers are insignificant, it only takes one contract with a country that has practically no Bitcoin ATMs to propel any of these manufacturers to the top of the ranks.


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Coinsource is First Bitcoin ATM Operator with New York Bitlicense

Coinsource, a Texas-based firm with 192 Bitcoin ATMs across the United States, has become the first Bitcoin ATM operator to receive the New York Bitlicense. The company had previously been operating 40 Bitcoin ATMs under a provisional license in New York City, Westchester and Long Island.

Genesis Coin also operates numerous Bitcoin ATMs in New York but is still awaiting approval from the New York Department of Financial Services.

The CEO of Coinsource, Sheffield Clark, said, “Coinsource is the first and only company that operates BTMs [Bitcoin ATMs] to receive a New York virtual currency license. All New Yorkers — from the people that are unbanked to the people who own the banks — can use our kiosks in their neighborhood retail locations to buy bitcoin instantly in a convenient and familiar way. Now that Coinsource is a license holder, our customers can buy and sell with confidence that Coinsource meets and exceeds the high standards set by the New York Department of Financial Services. New York represents not just a center of global innovation but also one of our largest target markets. We are extremely proud to be the only BTM operator holding a New York virtual currency license.”

The New York Bitlicense is difficult to obtain and has been controversial since it was implemented in August 2015. Any individual or organization that buys or sells cryptocurrency as a customer business, performs exchange services, controls or issues a cryptocurrency, or stores cryptocurrency on behalf of others is breaking the law unless they have the Bitlicense.

For a period of time, this caused Bitcoin trading in New York to become illegal and to this day, Bitcoin dealing is illegal in New York. In 2017, that problem was alleviated when Coinbase got the Bitlicense. At this time, only 12 companies have received charters or Bitlicenses to operate in New York, including Circle, Ripple, bitFlyer, Coinbase, Genesis Global Trading, BitPay, Square, and Coinsource. Essentially, only the wealthiest and most reputable companies have been able to obtain the Bitlicense. Smaller companies and individuals have not had success applying for the same rights to operate cryptocurrency businesses in New York.

Coinsource’s Bitlicense can be revoked at any time if owners do not follow strict anti-money laundering (AML) protocols, take active steps to prevent the Bitcoin they sell from being used for illegal activity or market manipulation, allow the New York Department of Financial Services to fully monitor their business activities, and properly protect consumers and resolve all customer complaints.


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Indian Police Raid the Nation’s Only Bitcoin ATM and Arrest Operator

The first Bitcoin ATM in India was revealed by Unocoin on 14 October 2018, despite the Reserve Bank Of India’s crackdown on Bitcoin. A mere 10 days later Indian police have raided the ATM, seizing the machine, 2 laptops, a mobile phone, 3 credit cards, 5 debit cards, a passport, 5 seals of the Unocoin company, USD 2,500 of Indian Rupees (INR), and they have arrested the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Unocoin Harish BV. Indian police have stated that more arrests are likely.

Although cryptocurrency firms are banned from having bank accounts in India, and cryptocurrency has been declared not to be legal tender, it did not appear that there was anything illegal about operating a Bitcoin ATM. This is because a Bitcoin ATM that offers both buying and selling does not need a bank account since people who buy Bitcoin insert cash into the ATM, and people who sell Bitcoin withdraw cash from the ATM.

However, Indian police clearly disagree. A commissioner for the Bangalore Police, Alok Kumar, says “They [Unocoin] did not have any license from RBI, SEBI [Securities and Exchange Board of India] or any other agency to carry out the bitcoin transaction. They were running it without obtaining any trade license from the BBMP [Bangalore government]”. Police further warned citizens not to be enticed by the potential to make money by investing in crypto.

The CEO and Co-Founder of Unocoin, Sathvik Viswanath, rebukes the police saying “cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say ‘illegal tender’. There’s a huge difference. It means you bear the risk of your investment and there’s no regulation for the industry”. Therefore, Viswanath asserts that Indians can buy, sell, and own Bitcoin, and there is nothing wrong with a Bitcoin ATM.

There probably will not be Bitcoin ATMs in India for the foreseeable future due to this raid, which is unfortunate since Bitcoin ATMs are a burgeoning and proliferating business worldwide. There are currently 3,905 Bitcoin ATMs in the world and that number has been exponentially growing.

That being said, peer to peer Bitcoin and crypto trading is legal in India and has been flourishing, so there is no lack of crypto in India.

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100,000 Regular ATMs in the Us Can Easily Become Bitcoin ATMs as Genmega and LibertyX Team Up

ATM manufacturer Genmega and LibertyX have partnered to offer Bitcoin buying functionality on regular ATMs. 100,000 regular ATMs can now become Bitcoin ATMs with a simple upgrade. It is likely that large amounts of Genmega ATM owners will do this upgrade since it provides extra revenue and extra attention without any upfront cost or new hardware.

The Bitcoin and crypto ATM industry has been proliferating. There are 3,894 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide as of this writing on 18 October 2018, up from 2,086 at the beginning of 2018 and 949 at the beginning of 2017. This near-exponential growth of the number of Bitcoin ATMs is building critical infrastructure that turns Bitcoin into a currency that can be used in everyday life, especially in the case of 2-way Bitcoin ATMs that facilitate both buying and selling of the popular cryptocurrency. It helps people paid with Bitcoin, get the cash they need for food and rent. In general, even ATMs that only offer Bitcoin buying are still increasing global demand for the digital currency by providing upward pressure on Bitcoin’s price.

If all 100,000 Genmega ATMs are upgraded, then the number of Bitcoin ATMs will skyrocket by more than an order of magnitude. This could drastically increase Bitcoin adoption, since people that go to regular ATMs will see that Bitcoin is available, and if they did not know about Bitcoin already, they would probably research it and possibly buy it. It will be easier than ever before to buy Bitcoin across the United States if even a fraction of Genmega ATMs upgrade. The combination of Genmega Bitcoin ATMs and classic Bitcoin ATMs will make instant Bitcoin buying available in practically every town across the country.

At this time Genmega ATMs will only be offering Bitcoin purchase option, since LibertyX, which is the exchange they partnered with, only offers Bitcoin buying. LibertyX is a top method in the United States for buying Bitcoin with cash. Users of LibertyX bring cash to a LibertyX location, which can be any store that chooses to offer LibertyX. They exchange cash for a voucher that can be instantly redeemed for Bitcoin. LibertyX is something like a mix between a Bitcoin exchange and a Bitcoin dealer, and they actually launched the first Bitcoin ATMs in the United States back in 2014.

As of 2014, there were 420,000 regular fiat ATMs in the United States, 100X more than all the Bitcoin ATMs in the world as of 2018, and the number of regular fiat ATMs has probably grown since 2014. Worldwide there are an estimated 3.5 million ATMs. If these regular ATMs can become Bitcoin ATMs with a simple software upgrade like that offered by Genmega and LibertyX, then the number of Bitcoin ATMs will grow at unprecedented speeds, and Bitcoin’s price will likely go up from increased demand.

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More Americans Choosing Bitcoin ATMs Despite Regulations

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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Report: Crypto ATM Market to Hit $144.5 Million by 2023

Research And Markets has published a report on the Bitcoin ATM industry, and projects that it will grow from USD 16.3 million in 2018 to USD 144.5 million by 2023, with an average yearly growth rate of 54.7%.

It is unclear what these amounts specifically mean, whether it’s the profit generated from the ATMs, the amount of money it takes to manufacture the ATMs, or both. Regardless, the report says the Bitcoin ATM industry will grow an astonishing 787% during the next five years. This is in agreement with current data, which shows that eight new Bitcoin ATMs are being installed every single day.

Right now, there are 3,700 Bitcoin ATMs. Less than a month ago on 8 August 2018, Bitcoin News ran a story on how the number of Bitcoin ATMs is growing exponentially, and how there are 3,500 Bitcoin ATMs in the world, versus 2,090 at the beginning of 2018, 949 at the beginning of 2017, 502 at the beginning of 2016, 327 at the beginning of 2017, and a mere four at the beginning of 2014. Some 200 new Bitcoin ATMs have been installed since that article was written. Clearly, Bitcoin ATMs are a profitable business model and they are proliferating globally.

Research And Markets says two-way Bitcoin ATMs will have the highest growth rate long term. This is because two-way Bitcoin ATMs are essentially a fully functioning crypto exchange, since they can provide fiat to crypto and crypto to fiat services, and this is in high demand. In contrast, 1-way Bitcoin ATMs can only provide fiat to crypto, making them useless for people that need to cash out Bitcoins.

ATMs that print QR code wallets are expected to spread at a faster rate than ATMs that don’t provide that option. Additionally, even though North America dominates the Bitcoin ATM market at this time, Research and Markets expects the Asia-Pacific region to have the highest growth rate of Bitcoin ATMs over the next five years.

The spread of Bitcoin ATMs is providing critical infrastructure worldwide that is turning Bitcoin and crypto into a currency that can be used in everyday life, since these Bitcoin ATMs make it easy to convert Bitcoin back and forth into fiat. Additionally, the spread of Bitcoin ATMs has coincided with a drastic increase in Bitcoin’s price, and ATMs will likely prove as an essential source of demand during the next big rally.


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Zimbabwe’s Bitcoin ATM Sits Idle Just as Country Needs It Most

Zimbabwe’s Bitcoin ATM – the first and only one in the country – has been reported to be unusable, just as demand for Bitcoin there is at an all-time high.

Golix, the exchange responsible for installing the machine at their office in Harare, has been embroiled in a high courts battle since May 2018 with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The central bank had ordered all banks in the country to sever ties with Golix and other exchanges, halting the facilitation of crypto trading. Ultimately, this forced exchanges, including Golix, to cease operations, with bank accounts frozen and large amounts of money owed to customers.

The Zimbabwean Dollar was officially demonetized in 2015 and Zimbabwe no longer has a native fiat currency. This crippled the economy for a time, with people and companies losing entire life savings. At the peak of the inflation crisis, there was 98% inflation rate every day, with inflation rates annually reaching hundreds of billions of percentage increases.

Now Zimbabweans use the US dollar, euro and other major global fiat currencies. They also use some silver and gold. Bitcoin has also been in demand, with average prices in Zimbabwe frequently much higher than average global prices, likely due to its decentralization and resistance to inflation. Citizens likely find these aspects to be highly desirable, given their recent experience with fiat currency.

Golix is hoping that it will have success in Zimbabwe’s High Court and overturn the crypto banking ban, which would allow it to start exchanging crypto for fiat again, a necessary mechanism so they can channel Bitcoin into Zimbabwe. No court date has been set yet, however.


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Russian Police Swoop on 22 Crypto ATM’s Across the Country

The Russian Police have seized 22 Bitcoin ATMs in 9 different cities across the country by orders from the country’s Central Bank.

The machines located mostly in shopping malls, stores and restaurants across the country are operated by Bbfpro. The company’s manager said there were no warnings from the police prior to the seizures, but that the authorities said that the machines will form part of an ongoing police investigation set to last for at least six months.

Cryptocurrencies are still not legally accepted in the vast country, although President Putin has flirted with the idea in the past of looking into the possibility of a state-owned crypto, principally to avoid trading sanctions. A statement on a government website in November last year, released when Bitcoin was skyrocketing, outlined the government’s position at that time when a local businessman attempted to install two ATM’s in Kazan:

“Currently, the legal status of crypto-currency in the Russian Federation is not defined. The provision by Russian legal entities of services for exchanging “virtual currencies” for rubles and foreign currency, as well as for goods (work, services) is considered as potential involvement in the implementation of questionable transactions in accordance with the legislation on combating the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, and the financing of terrorism.”

This hasn’t stopped the Russians from continuing the installations of Bitcoin ATMs, with 43 operating in the country until the police swooped in this week. In terms of world rankings, the US has the most number of installed Crypto ATMs, with 1721 machines currently in use, out of which 151 are located in New York City. Europe is led by Austria with 160 machines currently in use, followed by the UK with 124. The latest machine was installed in the UK, in the sleepy town of Kingsbridge, Devon just last week. France only has 2 active Bitcoin ATMs.

Although the Russsian Central Bank has not given any detail on why it ordered the seizures of Bbfpro’s ATMs, an official has indicated that the regulator carries out “systematic work to identify and counteract illegal activities in the financial market,” meanwhile, no indication of illegal activity has been reported.

Bbfpro has sought legal representation to fight against the seizures, claiming that Russia does not actually prohibit the acquisition of cryptocurrency and that the company itself follows all legal requirements by payment of government taxes and verification of user identities.

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Number of Bitcoin ATMs Growing Exponentially Past 3,500

The number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide has been growing exponentially, according to data from Coin ATM Radar. As of this writing on 7 August 2018, there are 3,509 Bitcoin ATMs in 74 countries around the world, up from 2,090 at the beginning of 2018, 949 at the beginning of 2017, 502 at the beginning of 2016, 327 at the beginning of 2015, and 4 at the beginning of 2014. Eight new Bitcoin ATMs are installed every day on average.

As can be seen from this data, Bitcoin ATMs are a relatively new invention that practically didn’t exist before 2014, but they are obviously a profitable enterprise since Bitcoin ATM operators have been installing them in more locations as fast as possible. North America dominates the Bitcoin ATM market with 74% of all Bitcoin ATMs, and Europe is in second place at 21%. There are Bitcoin ATMs on every continent besides Antarctica.

Bitcoin ATMs are essentially a Bitcoin exchange that can be visited in person. They provide near immediate results, versus a Bitcoin exchange like Coinbase which can take days to complete a Bitcoin buy or sell. More importantly, Bitcoin ATMs provide a physical link between Bitcoin and the economy, since they allow people to move Bitcoin into and out of fiat currency in a convenient way. Bitcoin ATMs allow people who get paid in Bitcoin to easily get the cash they need to pay rent and buy food, making Bitcoin paychecks just as good, if not better, than a cash paycheck.

While there is much talk across the Bitcoin world about how a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) or physical Bitcoin futures need to be approved for Bitcoin to gain mass adoption, the proliferation of Bitcoin ATMs across the world might be a far more important factor. Bitcoin ATMs are increasing the Bitcoin userbase, Bitcoin transaction volume, and therefore Bitcoin price. Bitcoin ATMs turn Bitcoin into a currency that can be easily used in real-life.

Bitcoin ATMs often offer other major cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin. There are 1,738 ATMs which offer Litecoin, 1,121 ATMs which offer Ethereum, 814 ATMs which offer Bitcoin Cash, 424 ATMs which offer Dash, 63 ATMs which offer Monero, 44 ATMs which offer Zcash, and 39 ATMs which offer Dogecoin.


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Moon Zebra Launches Malta’s First Two-Way Bitcoin ATM

Moon Zebra has installed the first two-way Bitcoin ATM in Malta. The two-way Bitcoin ATMs allow users to both buy Bitcoin with fiat and to convert Bitcoin back to fiat, and are far rarer than typical one-way Bitcoin ATMs that only allow users to buy Bitcoin with fiat. Even though this is only the 4th Bitcoin ATM installed in Malta, it is a major positive step for Malta, which has been called ‘Blockchain Island’ by many for its extremely favorable stance towards crypto and blockchain companies, including giving the world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance a fiat bank account.

Two-way Bitcoin ATMs are essential for the global adoption of Bitcoin as a currency, allowing users to quickly and easily move money between fiat and crypto. Now people in Malta who are paid with Bitcoin by their jobs can easily turn their Bitcoin into cold hard cash and use it to buy food, necessities, and pay rent

According to Coin ATM Radar, there are 1,256 two-way Bitcoin ATMs in the world versus 2,218 one-way Bitcoin ATMs, as of this writing on 15 July 2018. A two-way Bitcoin ATM provides all the functionality of a cryptocurrency exchange and is much faster. Typically it takes several days to convert Bitcoin into fiat when using a cryptocurrency exchange, and it requires a bank account. Bitcoin ATMs are nearly instant, usually requiring 1 confirmation which takes about 10 minutes before dispensing cash for deposited Bitcoin. Also, Bitcoin ATMs don’t require a bank account, making them the only option for unbankable Bitcoin users besides Bitcoin dealers.

Although Bitcoin ATMs typically charge higher fees than a cryptocurrency exchange for both buying and selling, on the order of 5-10%, the time saved is worth it. This is especially true since the near instant nature of Bitcoin ATMs protect users from market volatility; Bitcoin price fluctuations can easily exceed 5% in a day and sometimes even 10%, so it is worth a fee to make an instant Bitcoin to fiat transaction.

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