Bitcoin ATMs 2016 recap, trends for 2017

Another year has finished. Now it has been a little more than 3 years since first permanent bitcoin ATM installation in Vancouver. What has year 2016 year brought to bitcoin ATM industry, what has changed, what are the latest trends…

Geography

Bitcoin ATMs are installed around the world, however, most of them have high geographic concentration. The following chart illustrates bitcoin ATM installations split by continents for the last 3 years (year end is taken as a data point for each year):

Bitcoin ATMs by Continent

Latest data can be found on the charts page.

As it is seen North America was always dominating the market with 51% share in the end of 2014, and it grew constantly over years and reached 73% in the end of 2016.

Due to expansion of Canadian and mostly US market, Europe has lost 9% share over the same period and is at 20% of world installations currently. All the rest continents have very insignificant number of bitcoin ATM locations with a total of ~6%. In 2014 their share was ~20%.

Manufacturers and machine types

Bitcoin ATM types installed over time has also changed quite significantly (data in the chart below might vary slightly from reality due to storage algorithm). Speaking about shares of bitcoin ATM manufacturers, the leading company in the end of 2014 was Lamassu with 33% of all operating bitcoin machines belonging to them at that time.

Bitcoin ATM installations by machine type

Over two years share of Lamassu bitcoin ATM dropped from 33% to 20%.

At the same time a new company has taken the lead — Genesis Coin. Currently Genesis Coin has two major models on the market Sartoshi1 (one-way) and Satoshi2 (two-way), there are first generation two-way machines Genesis1  still at some locations, but Satoshi1 and Satoshi2 are leading with respect to new installations number. Genesis Coin had 11.6% in 2014 and currently holds almost 42% of the market share.

General Bytes is another company that increased its share from 12% in 2014 to 16% in the end of 2016. Additionally to its first one-way bitcoin ATM which was called BATM2, the company launched two-way model BATM3, which is available in several modifications. Also General Bytes is known for its support for operators of other machines, e.g. they developed a Robocoin Kit, which allowed to bring back to life many Robocoin kiosks. Recently the company launched another kit for Modenero machines, which appeared to be produced by a scammer, who later disappeared with operator’s money and left them with non-functional machines. General Bytes helped to switch these machines to be operating using their software (at least one at Lukoil station in Union City is already converted and operational).

The last company in top four list is Bitaccess. The company was not able to extend their ATM network, and reduced the share from 14% to 6% of worldwide installations. However, the company has developed partnerships in other alternative ways to purchase bitcoin, e.g. it was the first company who partnered with Flexepin in Canada and allowed to buy bitcoins for cash at more than 5K retail locations in Canada. Right now the company has launched similar service in the U.S.

One-way vs. Two-way bitcoin ATMs

Majority of machines on the market are one-way, so you can only buy bitcoins. In the end of 2016 the share of two-way machines is 35%, it was 38-40% in previous years, so the trend goes into more installations of one-way machines.

Operators

As mentioned in previous articles there is a trend for concentration of bitcoin ATM operations. Operators get larger with increased number of machines in their networks. Usually there are several bitcoin ATM operators on every national market who dominate majority of installations and there is a minority of many small players who has 1-2 machines.

Mainly it can be explained with maturing of regulatory conditions. Once an operator receives all needed licences and establishes a legal framework to work in, it becomes much easier to increase the number of machines, as costs of machine purchase are not the largest ones that bitcoin ATM operators bear.

Bitcoin ATM operators US

As it is seen from the charts (history data might vary slightly from reality due to storage algorithm) there is steady increase of concentration on the U.S. market. At the end of 2014 roughly 40% of all ATM installations in the U.S. were controlled by 10 largest operators. In 2015 — 50% and at the end of 2016 almost 60% of all bitcoin ATM locations were under the management of 10 top operators.

Similar pattern is observed in Canada, there bitcoin ATM operations are even more concentrated as at the end of 2016 75% of all bitcoin ATMs in the country are run by top 5 bitcoin machine operators.

Bitcoin ATM operators Canada

Trends for the future

As a summary the following trends might continue develop on the bitcoin ATM market:

  • One-way machines will still be dominating in the number of installations (according to survey we did in the past the absolute majority of transactions are still buying bitcoins for cash);
  • Concentration of activities will continue to increase, both: within bitcoin ATM producers and bitcoin ATM operators on national level markets. Some operators potentially might expand to worldwide level.
  • United States of America market will be still dominating with potentially increasing its share further.
  • One more trend observed lately is that there are more alternative services introduced where one can buy bitcoins or sometimes sell, like Flexepin in Canada, or Swiss railway kiosks. The advantage here is that locations network is already existing, which gives access to buy bitcoins with cash for many geographical areas immediately.

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