Bitcoin ATM Profitability Part 2 — Real Examples

In the previous post we discussed the theoretical profit calculations for running a Bitcoin ATM. This post collects the real-life examples of operation metrics for different Bitcoin ATMs found in the internet.

Vancouver first Robocoin machine

Due to a lot of attention as the first Bitcoin ATM and also due to the high demand for bitcoins during the ATM launch, this machine did CAD 100,000 (~$95,000) in 348 transactions during the first eight days ($273 per transaction) (source). Later it was announced that Bitcoin ATM did roughly 1 million CAD (~$950,000) in transactions during the first 29 days with 1,576 buy and sell transactions ($603 per transaction).

The investment was paid back during the period less than a month in this case.

BitAccess stats

The company’s co-founder Abdul Haseeb Awan announced in February 2014 that BitAccess machines are doing about $10,000 in transactions per day (Montreal installed machine), which transforms to roughly $300,000 per month.

Expresscoin ATMs

Other figures were provided by Scott Walker from expresscoin.com (redditor /u/bitsandmore) in this thread. He says they were operating several Bitcoin ATMs and the following turnover figures are known:

  • Robocoin at the “D” hotel in Las Vegas in the first month was $150k in transactions (three-times higher than our calculation in Scenario 3 in the previous post).
  • Lamassu, BitAccess, Genesis1 in different locations were bringing roughly $100k per month in volume each (which is also higher than our calculation in Scenario 2).

Scott concludes that in “Great” location ROI is about 3 months, in a “Good” location it is about 6 months, and in poor location probably about 12 months.

Black Star Pastry Bitcoin ATM

This is a Lamassu Bitcoin ATM in Sydney, Australia. In the same reddit thread mentioned above user /u/BitcoinOdyssey mentions that there are only 1-2 users per day. Similar stats is mentioned for other Bitcoin ATMs in Vancouver (not the first Robocoin ATM) by user /u/worldcoiner. He says there are about 1 visitor per day only.

Skyhook Bitcoin ATM in Philippines

The Bitcoin ATM is installed in Makati City in BitMarket.ph office. The company recently reported that it has been sparsely used since it was shipped from Portland, Oregon. They estimate about 100 users of the Bitcoin machine over the past few weeks. Well, assuming this is the number of transactions starting from the launch of the machine in the middle of June 2014, it is on average 40-50 transactions per month. However, the company representative hasn’t revealed any information about the average Bitcoin purchase size.

Satoshipoint Bitcoin ATM in Bristol, United Kingdom

This Bitcoin ATM is located in Bristol, UK and at the moment of this writing, it is the only Bitcoin ATM in the city. According to this article the machine processed about £38,000 in 1 month (August, 2014) with 250 operations in total (average transaction size is £152). This is one of the successful machines from this operator, as the ones in London have lower volumes due to many machines there (6 Bitcoin ATMs in London). The fees for this Bristol ATM is set at 5%. Using the Bitcoin ATM ROI calculator – we get the break-even point for this ATM at about 11 months from the launch.

Operators survey

Redditor /u/Bit-Connect conducted a survey of operators running Bitcoin ATMs (only 8 actually responded with filled details). The results of the survey can be seen on this image. As it is seen the biggest group has 20-50 transactions per month. Nobody reported more than 75 transactions per month.

BTCPoint analysis

In March 2014 there was an analysis report from BTCPoint bitcoin ATM supplier. The calculations are based on the EUR 800 (~$1080) transaction volume per day, which is mentioned as “very conservative”. This transforms to the volume of roughly $32,000 per month (which is two times bigger than assumed in our Scenario 2).

Lamassu surveys

According to information from Lamassu company (as of Novermber 2014) – standard locations have volume of about $20,000 per month, while prime locations bring $40,000-60,000 per month in volume. With an average mark-up rate of 5.5%, the gross profits are $1,000-$3,000 per machine per month.

Moreover, the increasing adoption rate also increases turnover in Bitcoin ATMs. For example, according to information from Bitcoin Group HK they processed 200 BTC in total. To process the first 100 BTC it took the machine 5 months, while the next 100 BTC were processed during only 1 month.

Bittihara – Finnish company operating a network of Lamassu machines in Finland, reported in the same article that one of their machines at central railway station in Helsinki is doing approximately $32,000 a month in turnover, while the record was $50,000. Average transaction size is reported to be $150-200.

Midwest Bitcoin

According to Micah Corning-Myers, CEO of Midwest Bitcoin the machine in Columbus Barber shop had a turnover of about $10,000 in the first month, while similar machine in Chicago has about $100,000 in transactions per month. The company operates several two-way BitAcces Bitcoin ATMs.

Vaiex Lamassu machine in London

Vaiex operates a Lamassu machine at Hemsai Food and Wine. According to company’s representative there were about 300 transactions over the period of 6 months with average of £100 each. So the total revenue of the company over this period was about £30,000. The company charges 4.9% fees for every transaction, so gross profit over 6 months was £1470, or £245 per month. With the initial cost of the machine of about £5000, it will take almost 2 years only to get the initial expenses back, not including the maintenance of the machine. So this is an example of unprofitable location for a Lamassu unit, however the idea of the owners is not to earn a lot on this, rather than make bitcoins available for masses.

Robocoin statistics

According to Jordan Kelley “today on average, a Robocoin machine averages $26,000 per month in transaction volume, generates about $1,300 per month in fee revenue, and averages about 115 unique transactions”. These figures are reported after the introduction of new Robocoin wallet, which led to many operators loosing customers due to long confirmation period (sell operations dropped significantly as reported by many operators). Alternatively software with some hardware from General Bytes or Lamassu can be used on the same kiosks.

Skyhook bitcoin machine in Indianapolis, US

Bitcoin ATM in Indianapolis at World Of Vapor was installed back in December 2014. At the moment of this writing the machine is in operation for 8 months, so there is now definitely some established knowledge about location of this machine among local interested users.

The operator of this machine is very transparent on the statistics about running the machine and provides online information about BTC price, sales amounts and also success rate of transactions. All details can be found here. Looking at the chart of sales – there is a clear upward trend since April 2015 (start of the chart), probably similar trend was from the very beginning of the launch in Dec 2014.

Skyhook bitcoin ATM profitability

On 30th of July 2015 the price of BTC at this machine was $324.9, comparing to the price of Bitstamp $288.01 – this gives approximate operator’s fees at this date of 12.8%, assuming this is the level of fees applied over time (one can check this, as all the machine rates are also provided on the chart) we can calculate profitability of this ATM.

With daily average of transactions now of about $800 – the machine brings about $3000 per month in the form of earned fees. Of course there are costs of operating such machine as paying the rent to the owner of the local business or share revenue with them, however, with the initial investment costs of this given machine at $999, the ROI for it is less than a month at current level of transactions volume (which, of course, was different at the launch of this location). So, this example shows that even if the machine doesn’t have enough volume it makes sense to stick to one location and increase local awareness, probably volume increase will follow.

Two-way BitXatm machines in Switzerland

According to information from biggest bitcoin ATM operator in Switzerland Bitcoin Suisse AG (as of October 2015) about performance of their machines the following info is available:

“The ATM in Zurich does between 30-40k CHF / month. The one in St. Gallen does about 20k CHF / month. The ATMs in Bern and Basel are freshly placed and we don’t have a track record yet. 90% of the Volume is Buy Bitcoin, 10% is sell Bitcoin.” (source).

UPDATE: Later in the news the revenue was mentioned for Bern and Zurich locations. Bern location at Billard Center Bern City does about 25K CHF in monthly turn over with average transactions size of Fr. 200 (3 usages per day on average). Zurich location is reported to have twice that volume.

Keene’s bitcoin ATM, US (first Skyhook, then Lamassu)

This bitcoin ATM is located in Keene at Route 101 Gifts shop. Initially there was a small Skyhook installed since July 2014 and then (in April 2015) it was replaced with a Lamassu bitcoin ATM. So bitcoin machine has been in operation for more than a year. Some stats has become available, while according to this article the owner is using the same bitcoin address for payouts to customers.

After finding the corresponding volume of sold bitcoins in USD the following chart was created:

Keene bitcoin ATM

During the period of July 2014 – July 2015 the machine was generating about $2-3K monthly volume, but since August 2015 the volume jumped to about $20-30K per month and stays at this level.

Keene is a small city in New Hamshire with about 23K population. So where from all this volume came? According to the owner: “our customers range from young to old from all across the Northeast, because sadly, the Keene BVM is the only publicly accessible BVM (or ATM) in all of ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, and Upstate NY. New York, the Empire State, has cracked down on the bitcoin industry there, resulting Albany and Buffalo losing their machines in 2015”. So it looks like BitLicense played a good role here and people started visiting the machine from remote areas.

Speaking about profitability the first year was quite hard with respect to ROI, as during the first 12 months the machine brought about $17.7K of volume only (looks like in Jan-Mar 2015 the machine was not working as there were no transactions). With fees 5-10% operator charges it could bring $1700 earnings during the whole year maximum, which could be assessed as a failure. But then after the growth of volume the machine now probably generates $2-3K per month in profits, which results in about 3 months needed to pay back the costs of the machine. At the moment of writing it was 12th November, so last month stats is not yet full, that is why graph is decreasing.

So it is very important when operating a bitcoin ATM to keep it at the same place, to promote and advertise it. Normally it takes about half a year to reach some popularity and increase to “normal” volume, however, as we see in this case it took more than a year. But I would still assess it as a success story.

Lamassu in Cambridge at St John’s Innovation Centre

Lamassu bitcoin ATM in Cambridge was operating a little more than a year and is removed from its location in November 2015. It will be used for the purposes of Duo Money project.

Justin Drake shared operational stats for this machine on his twitter:

Justin Drake twitter

So during a year machine did only £15K in volume, which means at its rate (announced 3-5%) the earnings were only £750 per year maximum, not taking into account all running costs, which were definitely higher. So this is an example when bitcoin ATM brought financial loss to the operator. Considering initial investment in bitcoin ATM itself the loss is even bigger.

150 users during 1 year means machine was used once in two days on average, which is a very low activity at bitcoin ATM compared to other examples.

Lamassu in Bratislava, Slovakia

According to information from Marián Jančučka Bitcoin ATM in Košice was operated for about a year and was not profitable enough due to lack of demand although it was actively promoted and after a year of operation bitcoin machine was sold a different operator – Cryptodiggers, who moved machine to the capital Bratislava. Another bitcoin ATM which is operated by Marrián for a very long time is a Lamassu machine in Bratislava city center. Here are the figures mentioned for this machine:

“We can only estimate the total number of Bitcoins sold from the number of different wallets used to purchase Bitcoins. Long-term average is above 2 Bitcoins sold per day in about two transactions, so the average single purchase is something above 1 BTC. MojBitcoin ATM is in operation since 21. November 2013 which is almost 750 days, so it’s over 1500 bitcoins sold in 1500 transactions to 1000 bitcoin wallets.”

Assuming the USD transasction equivalent is the same over this long period and BTC volume changes depending on the price, we can calculate what is the average daily turn over of this machine was based on the historical prices from BitStamp. It is about $700 a day in 2 transactions. So average monthly volume is ~$21K per month. The machine is charging 3%, which results in $630 of gross profit per month.

Coin Cloud bitcoin ATMs

Coin Cloud is a bitcoin ATM operator who runs a network of bitcoin machines mostly in California. Although it is not clear what is the volume at machines – according to the Vice article and CEO Chris McAlary statement:

“Coin Cloud customers purchase on average $250 worth of bitcoins and sell on average $500 at the machines”

Assuming machine does 2 transactions per day and 80% of them buy bitcoin operations we get estimation for volume at one machine of $18K per month. This caculation is based on a plain assumption of number of transactions per day, which probably varies heavily depending on location, e.g. bitcoin machine at The D Las Vegas Casino is probably doing more than 2 transactions per day.

UPD: Later in a different article Chris McAlary mentioned that each machine brings about 200-300 visitors traffic to stores:

“The kiosks draw a wide range of new customers, on average 200-300 a month, that would have otherwise not entered a store”

Assuming this is the customer base of each machine per month, putting two metrics together (taking number of visitors as 250) we get 250*0.8*250+500*0.2*250 = $75K turnover for one machine per month on average.

Bitaccess machine in Toronto

A Bitcoin Decentral ATM is installed for a long time since January 2014. It was the first Bitaccess ATM installed in the world. Anthony Di Iorio in one of Epicenter Episodes (127) mentioned (at ~4:00) that bitcoin ATM is very active at this location bringing 40-50 users per day. It still seems to be an exaggeration, otherwise this machine generates about $250K in revenue with assumed average ticket of $200, which is probably not the case especially when there is another bitcoin ATM installed close to it.

Genesis Coin machines run by Digital Mint

In the following interview Marc Grens President at Digital Mint mentioned, that average size of transactions at their ATMs was dropping. It was $200 / txn when they started and it moved down to $110-120 / txn as of October 2016. It is probably connected to more and more broad public gets introducted to bitcoin and they usually purchase in small amounts to try it out, like $20-30 per purchase.

Another interesting metric mentioned that 70% of customers are coming back and buying more bitcoins  month over month.

Conclusion

Based on the real-life examples above it is seen that the business volume significantly varies from location to location and also among different Bitcoin ATM types. If you plan to purchase and install a portable Bitcoin machine in local shop or cafe, don’t expect $100k in monthly transactions, more realistic figures are in the range of about 50-100 transactions with about $5-10k transaction volume per month in a good location. With the middle class Bitcoin machines (scenario 2) you could expect the turnover to be in $20-40k interval in a good location. With bank-level Bitcoin ATMs one could expect the transaction volume of $50k or more per month in a popular place with a broad media coverage.

With increased competition among bitcoin ATM operators we see the are plenty machines located close to each other and hence the volume per machine is becoming lower compared to initial example of one machine in a city with a lot of hype and media coverage around it.

As we are only at the beginning of the Bitcoin adoption phase, sometimes it is not even that important to make your ATM profitable, but it is rather often used as a means of free PR publicity. With the level of Bitcoin ATM prices (like in Skyhook case), it is relevantly small investment to increase the traffic to your local brick-and-mortar business. According to representative of Greek coffee shop and bakery CT@HB the conversion rate from ATM users in the shop is about 80%.

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