Category Archives: Bitcoin ATMs

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The Ten Top Cities to Visit With Bitcoin in Your Pocket

Investopedia recently used Coin ATM Radar, coinmap.org and other metrics to calculate the best cities around the globe to visit with Bitcoin.

You don’t have to be in London or New York to use or access your bitcoins.  ATMs are turning up in the most unlikely places, such as the sleepy Devon town of Kingsbridge in the South West of England, where just last month a Bitcoin ATM was set up in the corner of the town’s Tourist Centre.

The Prague subway now has ten new machines spread across its route and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), has clarified that banks in Germany now have the right to upgrade existing ATMs in the country to facilitate certain cryptocurrencies. With the last ATM count approaching 4000 worldwide, it won’t be too long before one is accessible wherever a traveler finds themselves.

So, until then, for the global traveler, where is the best place to cash out some BTC or buy dinner? The following breakdown includes Investopedia’s top dogs when it comes to accessing or spending your crypto funds. Here are the top ten based on Bitcoin accessibility and usability.

  1. The global base of mega crypto exchange Coinbase is San Francisco, not only home of the street tram and Fisherman’s Wharf, but also home to 177 Bitcoin-accepting merchants and 29 Bitcoin ATMs.
  2. Canada has a reputation for being crypto friendly, having been recently described as further advanced in cryptocurrency policy than its US neighbor. The coastal city of Vancouver boasts of 86 merchants accepting the digital currency as well as 48 Bitcoin ATMs around the city.
  3. Half a million Dutch households own crypto so it is unsurprising that Dutch capital Amsterdam is Bitcoin-friendly to the traveler. There are about 74 merchants around the tiny country, with a population under 800,000, accepting Bitcoin. Although, ATMs are not yet patronized as that of the neighboring cities. Approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands who invest in cryptocurrencies started doing so in 2017.
  4. Ljubljana, Slovenia with a tiny population of 272,000, Ljubljana has 51 merchants accepting Bitcoin and five ATMs.
  5. Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel’s financial center offers 58 merchants that are more than happy to take BTC and has 4 Bitcoin ATMs. Bitcoin is a fact of life in the country, and the government has acknowledged it as a taxable asset with investors purchasing gold and real estate with the flagship cryptocurrency, cherishing its anonymity.
  6. Along with Malta, Switzerland is Europe’s real crypto mover and shaker. Out of the world’s six biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) last year, four took place in Switzerland, according to Swiss financial watchdog, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). In Zurich 64 merchants take Bitcoin and eight ATMs serve a tiny population of 366,000. Bitcoin is now available as payment at 1,357 railway ticket kiosks around the alpine nation.
  7. Tampa, Florida may seem an unlikely place to find a community utilizing cryptocurrency but the city provides as many as 93 merchants accepting BTC. Also, a good scattering of 13 ATMs around the city means that travelers are never far from a source of cash.
  8. Both Venezuela and Argentina are in financial crisis. However traveling in Buenos Aires with Bitcoin is made easy with a huge 130 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 3 ATMs, although the government of Argentina has promised to swell those numbers over the next few years. In fact, with no intention of keeping things small, Argentina plans to become the world’s biggest player with pre-agreements to install 4,000 ATM around the South American country.
  9. New York usually does things big, hence 117 ATMs around the city, meaning that most areas of the city are covered whether up, mid, or downtown. 122 merchants also accept Bitcoin as payment. Wall St. has been making noises about crypto this year, so it shouldn’t be too long before banks update their fiat ATMs in America’s banking metropolis.
  10. The UK was quick to take to cryptocurrency; 88 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 74 ATMs around the busy and culturally diverse capital illustrate this enthusiasm. London made the news recently when a mosque announced that it had successfully reached and exceeded its target of donations over the Ramadan period – in cryptocurrency.

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Bitcoin’s Ground Game More Important Than ETF

The Bitcoin mainstream is currently obsessed with the possibility of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Most of the market moving headlines recently have been about Bitcoin ETFs being proposed and then rejected, and now stayed.

The excitement is that a Bitcoin ETF would allow Bitcoin, or Bitcoin derivatives, to be easily tradeable on all the major stock trading platforms where institutional investors transact trillions of US dollars, and how this could potentially lead to a Bitcoin rally. However, people obsessed with a Bitcoin ETF are ignoring its ground game such as Bitcoin ATMs, adoption, and crypto hedge funds, which are far more important and have a more direct impact on price than ETFs.

First off, many of the proposed Bitcoin ETFs, including the ones that have been stayed and are pending further review, are derivatives, i.e. paper Bitcoins. The Direxion and Proshares Bitcoin ETFs are settled for cash and only have cash backing them, meaning that even if trillions of dollars pour into these if approved, it wouldn’t have a direct impact on Bitcoin’s spot demand or price. The only ones that would really be important is one backed by actual Bitcoins, like the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF, which was rejected, and the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin ETF which has been stalled for the foreseeable future.

As far as institutional investors are concerned, the proliferation of crypto hedge funds across the globe is far more important than a Bitcoin ETF. Currently, there are at least 466 crypto hedge funds and these largely invest in Bitcoin. Further, they provide a global infrastructure for institutional investors to invest money in Bitcoin and crypto in a safe and regulated way. Crypto hedge funds represent far more options and avenues than any potential ETF, yet the market is barely reacting to the news that the number of crypto hedge funds is skyrocketing.

Perhaps even more important is the real ground game, especially the adoption of Bitcoin by everyday people. This can perhaps be tracked by the absolute explosion of Bitcoin ATMs across the world. There are now over 3,600 Bitcoin ATMs in the world with five new machines being added per day on average. To put this in perspective, at the end of 2013 there were fewer than five Bitcoin ATMs in the entire world. These have turned into critical infrastructure that allows for rapid buying and selling of Bitcoin for fiat, turning Bitcoin into a real currency that can be used in everyday life.

The fact that Bitcoin can now be easily used to pay rent, buy food, or buy anything else thanks to Bitcoin ATMs is laying the groundwork for rapid global adoption.

People have more control over their money with a decentralized currency that can’t be seized or frozen. Bitcoin is less cumbersome than physical cash and easier to conceal, reducing the risk of theft and allowing for instant international transactions with low fees. Further, Bitcoin is the most secure form of money in history due to cryptographic security that has yet to be hacked

Perhaps most importantly, Bitcoin’s decentralization means it can’t be printed by governments or manipulated to balance a budget, unlike fiat currencies which are abused by their respective governments. These are the reasons why Bitcoin got popular to begin with, and now Bitcoin’s infrastructure is rapidly growing and setting the stage for global crypto proliferation.

Essentially, a Bitcoin ETF that is based on actual Bitcoins would be good news and useful, but it is not the most important thing. Bitcoin’s ground game consisting of crypto hedge funds and Bitcoin ATMs is what will really drive Bitcoin’s adoption and price upwards long term.

 

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