Category Archives: Profitability

Revenue and costs of running a bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin ATM industry is growing fast. There are several new bitcoin machine installations worldwide daily. Existing bitcoin ATM operators increase number of machines in their networks, as well as new operators join the market. Even on the production side, there are new manufacturers developing their products and coming to the market with new bitcoin machine models targeting different segments and niches, e.g. recently were added BitTeller, Bitlox, BitConcept on our site.

Running a bitcoin ATM is an interesting business opportunity in the new era of digital currencies, however, sometimes the lack of information keeps people away as they don’t know where to start, or get any practical estimations of how much you can earn with a bitcoin ATM. In order to increase transparency Coin ATM Radar conducted a survey with a number of bitcoin ATM operators to find out what are current metrics of an average bitcoin ATM business.

Revenue and costs of bitcoin ATM

Before going any deeper we recommend to read:

Now back to survey. It was sent to 24 operators in total, 11 responded either in full or skipping some questions due to not wanting sharing info, although it was mentioned that none of info will be associated in any form to the company or person responding. Even limited info we received gives a good estimation of level of costs and earnings one should expect.

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Risks of running a bitcoin ATM business

Running a bitcoin ATM brings a lot of opportunities. On the other side such a business brings a lot of risks too.

This post concentrates on two of the main risks which bitcoin ATM operators have to deal with and choose which way to follow:

  • Exchange rate risk;
  • Counterparty risk.

For simplicity reasons lets look at the case when bitcoin ATM allows buying bitcoins for cash, not selling. Every bitcoin ATM operator chooses how to run a bitcoin machine in this case:

  • By using own bitcoin stock;
  • Through exchange mirroring deals.

Selling bitcoins from own stock

This scenario is illustrated on the following diagram (click to enlarge):

Operating bitcoin ATM from own stock bitcoins

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Bitcoin ATMs industry overview after 2 years since first launch

It’s been two years since the first bitcoin ATM went live in Vancouver, Canada on 29th October 2013. So what has been achieved over this time and what are the current dynamics of this newly evolving market?

As it is seen on the following chart number of bitcoin ATMs is steadily increasing. However, the speed is lower compared to the first year. During the first year there were 284 bitcoin ATMs installed and in the second year only 187 new bitcoin ATM locations were added and not removed later. This is lower than we forecasted a year ago based on the growth rate of traditional bank ATMs in the beginning of 70-s. It was calculated that there will be about 562 bitcoin ATMs installed by this time, however, there are only 471 in the world.

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General Bytes Bitcoin ATM review

In the previous article we provided a review of Genesis Coin Bitcoin ATMs. In this post we review another bitcoin ATM more compact one from a Czech company General Bytes.

Overview

BATMTwo Bitcoin ATM

General Bytes ATM

  • One-Way Bitcoin ATM
  • Price 2849 USD, Free shipping
  • Sells coins from wallet or exchange
  • Point of Sale integrated
  • Remotely manageable and upgradable
  • Multilingual (English, Česky, Deutsch, Español, Français, Hrvatski, Italiano, Nederlands, Polski, Pусский, Slovenčina, 中国的)
  • Fiat Multicurrency (more than 120 including USD, EUR, etc)
  • Crypto Multicurrency (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin)
  • AML/KYC integrated (Fingerprint or SMS)

Technical specification

  • Dimensions: 32x38x27 cm
  • Weight: 20 kg
  • Material: 2mm iron
  • Display: 7” projected capacitive
  • Mounting options: Designed to be mounted on wall (mounting screws and tools are included)
  • Internet connectivity: WiFi (b/g/n) + Ethernet 100Mbit
  • Cash box capacity: 500 bank notes
  • Security: Two high security standard locks. One for main doors, second for cashbox.
  • Warranty: 1 year

Buy Cryptocurrency Process

The process of purchasing cryptocurrency in this type of machines was described recently. It is important to note that the machine supports several cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin – but also has an extensible API, which can be used to add any other cryptocurrency.

Another important feature of this machine is convenience for the users: the purchase may be done to existing wallet (you need to scan QR code), but also it can be purchased using email address only. In this case all the needed information will be sent to the user by email in encrypted form.

There is a convenience for the seller as well, while the machine supports both: sale from the wallet or sale from the exchange (means eliminate the volatility risk). Supported exchanges are: Bitstamp.net, Coinbase.com. Supported wallets are: Blockchain’s My Wallet, Bitcoind, Litecoind, Dogecoind, Block.io, Coinbase.com, Coinkite.com.

The following videos illustrate both processes:

POS functionality

General Bytes Bitcoin ATM by default supports POS functionality. That means if you install this machine in the shop, restaurant or any other business location, it can start accepting Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies) as a payment method without need to purchase any other hardware, software or integrating with any other third-party service.

The POS functionality is displayed in this video:

KYC/AML compliance features

The machine’s hardware and software supports the following ways of customer identification:

  • By SMS
  • Scan ID document
  • Fingerprint scan

Based on the provided identification – the transaction limits can be set up.

KYC/AML features are illustrated in the following video:

Remote management

Most of people don’t think about this when they are purchasing the machine, but they will realize that they need remote management when they start operating the machine. If they want to operate more than one machine, then remote management is absolute must.

Bitcoin ATM machine is not just about one time cost, maintenance costs are also very important. And remote management lowers maintenance costs dramatically.

Here are several use case scenarios what can be done with remote administration:

  • Is the machine online? Is it working? – You can check that on server administration web.
  • You can define the price settings flexibly without visiting the machine.
  • End customer has the problem with the machine, something went wrong.  He calls to support, you can check the status of his transaction on the server administration web (possible reasons: for example, Bitstamp connectivity problem, customer scanned different Bitcoin address than he thought that it scanned). You can even see which banknotes he inserted, how he navigated over the screens, etc.
  • You as an operator get sms or email notifications when: transaction occurred, machine is offline for more than an hour, when your exchange balance is low, when there is too much cash inside of the machine.
  • You upgrade the ATM software remotely from the server.

Price

This bitcoin ATM has a reasonably low price compared to other providers. A one-way BATMTwo machine costs $2849 with free shipping.

Another Bitcoin ATM with low price is Skyhook Bitcoin machine, which costs only $999. There is a trade-off between these two machines, while General Bytes is more feature rich out of the box, support many currencies by default, has POS integrated and more rich KYC/AML components. Also the unit itself is more solid and reminds more of the Lamassu machine.

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.

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Bitcoin ATM Profitability Part 1 — Theoretical Calculations

According to the data available the average fee taken by the operators for using the Bitcoin ATM is 5.2%. This rate could be used as a starting point for calculation. Depending on the ATM provider, there potentially could be running (license) fees additionally to the one-time ATM purchase cost, like in the case of Robocoin the operator will have to pay 1% fee to the ATM provider (unless the life-time license is purchased for a lump-sum).

On this page you can find a Bitcoin ATM profit calculator for getting the feeling about return on investment. It is assumed that buy and sell operations are equal and are inputted in aggregate fields: the transactions number and average transaction size. Not all the Bitcoin ATMs support the two-way operations, so sometimes it is only buy operations, which the operator may take into forecast calculation. In fact, the buy and sell transations are different in characteristics. According to Robocoin statistics, 1/3 of all operations are sell Bitcoin transactions and 2/3 are buy operations on average. Also the average size of operations varies — average buy is about $480, while average sell is $750.

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