Bitcoin ATMs Have Doubled Almost Every Year Since 2016

By Jack Filiba


While the market as a whole has been in decline since the cryptocurrency boom of late 2017, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs around the globe has continued to increase.

Proponents of Bitcoin ATMs argue that they are an efficient way of letting the public engage with cryptocurrencies. According to findings from Coin ATM Radar, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs has doubled almost every year for the last four years.

To gauge motivators behind this growth, LongHash reached out for comment from two prominent cryptocurrency ATM operators — one in Japan and one which operates internationally.

From 501 ATMs in 2016 to Over 4,000 in 2019

A cryptocurrency ATM is a product which attempts to function in the same way as a traditional ATM. It offers customers the ability to purchase cryptocurrencies on the spot with cash or a credit card. The goal is to give the public the ability to purchase or sell digital assets without the formality that comes with using an online exchange.

The world’s first Bitcoin ATM was reportedly opened in Vancouver, Canada in late 2013. There were 282 ATMs in operation around the world just one year later.

In 2016, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs in operation broke 500 for the first time. According to Coin ATM Radar, there were 501 cryptocurrency ATMs around the world on January 1, 2016.

Since then, this total has nearly doubled every single year. There were an estimated 965 ATMs at the beginning of 2017, marking an increase of 93% from the previous year.

On January 1, 2018 this number had risen 114%, meaning there were 2,064 cryptocurrency ATMs operating on the site’s radar. Now, in 2019, the site estimates that the number of cryptocurrency ATMs around the globe is 4,128 as of January 1.

Proponents say crypto ATM growth won’t slow down

“Crypto ATMs satisfy two demands,” said Eric Gravengaard, the CEO of a prominent cryptocurrency ATM provider known as Athena Bitcoin. “First, they allow users of crypto (BTC, LTC, BCH, ETH, etc.) to receive their crypto instantly. Blockchains are both instantaneous and permanent. The only analog in the U.S. financial system is physical currency, so ATMs are the only real way to instantly gain spendable Bitcoin.”

“Second, [cryptocurrency] ATMs are easy and convenient for people without convenient and trusted bank accounts. All you need is cash and ID and you can purchase Bitcoin.”

According to Gravengaard, Athena Bitcoin has around 100 cryptocurrency ATMs in operation. He told LongHash that the company plans to double this number within the next 18 months. While he admits that some of the public cryptocurrency mania has waned, he said that the company’s target markets in North and South America are holding strong. Recently, the company opened a new ATM in Argentina.

BitOcean, a company that makes Bitcoin ATMs, currently has four in stock, all of which operate in Japan. The company’s co-founder, Yan Pu, told LongHash that it plans to deploy additional ATMs once it makes the adjustments necessary to comply with regulations from the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).

“So far, we do not think that [ATM growth] will slow down,” he said. “ATMs are a quite convenient way for users to get fiat or buy coins with fiat.”

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