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…
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):
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%.
Bitcoin ATMs are spreading quite fast since the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016. Although the most useful application of bitcoin machines could be in the developing countries where financial inclusion is low, the majority of bitcoin ATMs are still appearing in developed countries.
Quick look at bitcoin ATM aggregated stats shows that 63% of all bitcoin machines are in North America and 25% are in Europe. Taking into account 5% in Oceania (mostly Australia) means almost 95% of all machines are in developed countries. There are several reasons for this. Costs for bitcoin ATMs might be quite high for average businessmen in developing country with respect to risk of operating and running it. Also return on investment required can be achieved only in locations with relatively large user base and steady bitcoin usage (mostly in developed countries as of now), which results in transaction volume for such machines.
Leading country within the developed countries list with respect to bitcoin ATM adoption is the United States. As of the end of March 2016 it has roughly 280 bitcoin ATMs installed across the country, which comprises ~45% of all installations worldwide.
With bitcoin price rise the speed of bitcoin ATM installations also accelerated as there is a spike in number of bitcoin ATMs appeared in the last two weeks. Bitcoin ATM operators probably had to pre-order machines quite a while ago, so it is more a thorough calculation based on expected transaction volumes and potential growth. But as bitcoin machines are installed in many places and by independent operators – this fact shows that running a bitcoin ATM is a profitable business.
This post is written by Jon H. — just another enthusiast helping take bitcoin mainstream.
As Bitcoin’s awareness expands, more and more people are turning to Google to learn about what Bitcoin is and where they can get some. I think all too many of us know that there is way too much friction to getting your first Bitcoin, so here’s 7 reasons why I think Bitcoin ATMs are still one of the best ways to get yours.
People are looking for a way to buy Bitcoin for the first time will likely stick with what they are familiar with. Although Bitcoin ATMs are nothing like regular ATMs, the basic interface is somewhat similar. A human walks up to a machine and interacts with a screen to deposit or withdrawal money of some sort. People don’t want to get all caught in some sort of weird hassle where they have to fill out extensive forms or meet obscure people in sketchy places or attach bank account to online exchanges. People want to go put $20 into a machine that is similar to machines they already know and get some of “this Bitcoin thing”. Bitcoin ATMs are a great face for the first time Bitcoin buyer all the way to the seasoned cypherpunks simply for their very familiar interface.
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.
Cottonwood Vending operator added its sixth location in New York area. Now satoshi1 one-way bitcoin machine was installed in Harlem, NY at Apollo Deli & Fruit. This ATM allows quickly buying bitcoins. Online prices for this ATM are available at given above link, machine charges on average 8-12% fee above market rate. The ATM has additional bulk note acceptor, which means it can easily handle huge packs of paper money and convert it into real money of future in seconds.
Recently we’ve added a new page on the site called Charts where we collect all the metrics about the Bitcoin ATM industry. The advantage of this statistics is that it is online and shows always up-to-date state of the Bitcoin ATM industry. In combination with the information about Bitcoin ATM installations per manufacturers, it gives a very solid base for understanding how we progress.
At the moment there about 240 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide. And this happened in less than a year. However, many people compare this to standard bank ATMs, mentioning there are more than 2 million available worldwide today.
Our answer would be: “Yes, and what?” How is it at all can be compared, when bank ATMs are there for more than 40 years now, and here we are talking about totally new concept of digital currency that appeared 5 years ago, and about Bitcoin ATMs that started appearing less than a year ago.
Being interested we decided to find some figures on the bank ATM installations and how they evolved initially.