There is a new trend in the United States – bitcoin ATMs are being set up more and more across the country. The machines can be used to buy or sell bitcoins, and often to withdraw money. The number of ATMs in the country has grown rapidly over the past year, a trend driven by the growth of the digital currency, which last week reached a value of over $ 61,000.
As of January 2021, there were a total of 28,185 bitcoin ATMs in the United States, according to the independent website howmanybitcoinatms.com. In the last 5 months, an additional 10,000 new bitcoin ATMs have been installed.
The growing popularity of bitcoins is the main driver for installing new ATMs. The reasons why people use ATMs instead of online transactions vary. Some receive cash, others do not have bank accounts, others prefer to send remittances abroad or want anonymity, while others feel more comfortable interacting with a physical machine.
Rebecca White, a 51-year-old bitcoin investor living in the Pittsburgh area, makes more investments online and uses bitcoin ATMs when her family has extra money. “When we buy groceries and we have 60-70 dollars left, I will stop at an ATM and buy bitcoins.” said White, who works at a nuclear power plant.
Some machines offer only bitcoins, while others allow customers to invest in a variety of digital currencies. “Several ATMs with bitcoin can actually give cash and cost more than regular ATMs or enable online transactions,” Reuters reports.
Fees vary from 6 to 20% of the transaction value, depending on the location and ATM operator. Currently, there are no ATMs in Alaska or Washington only.
Las Vegas-based Coin Cloud has 1,470 machines in the United States and is expected to have 10,000 by the end of the year, said CEO Chris Maclari. Although there were fears that the pandemic could harm businesses, pedestrian traffic actually increased during the blockades.
Chicago-based competitor CoinFlip increased its network from about 420 machines last year to 1,800 now, says CEO Daniel Polotsky. ATM transactions have almost tripled during this period. CoinFlip charges customers 6.99% for the purchase and 4.99% for the sale of the cryptocurrency.
Atlanta-based Bitcoin Depot has increased its number of ATMs from 500 to more than 1,800 in the past year, said CEO Brandon Mintz. Most customers are between the ages of 25 and 40 and find ATMs by searching the Internet, he explains.
General Bytes, which makes bitcoin ATMs, was temporarily out of stock last summer when demand rose. The company sold 3,000 machines last year, 90% of which went to North America, said founder Karel Kiovski.
But not every ATM attracts customers. Quad Coin removed several machines installed last year because they did not make a profit within 6 months.