The number of cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs) installed worldwide has grown substantially over the years. According to cryptocurrency ATM tracking website Coinatmradar, as of Nov. 25, there are currently 6,007 crypto ATMs located in 75 countries, which is 46% more than the 4,113 machines reported by the site on Jan. 1.
In addition, the site lists 148,823 other similar services that allow people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as existing bank ATMs, mobile payment terminals, retail chains, and kiosks. In this category, Bitquick tops the list with 106,649 locations, followed by Bitnovo Teller with 8,809 locations. The former is a Boost VC company that operates a peer-to-peer trading platform launched in August 2013 and acquired by Athena Bitcoin in June 2016.
The latter is a Spanish company that operates crypto ATMs as well as provides a service to buy and sell cryptocurrencies at teller locations. Its website claims that there are currently 39,311 Bitnovo points of sale and 670,761 transactions have been carried out successfully. The company launched the Bitsa prepaid Visa card in April and has so far issued 16,456 of them to customers, its website adds. 24nonstop, Flexepin Canada, Ibox, Flexepin Australia and the partnership of Coinme and Coinstar are also listed in this category.
A Bitcoin ATM (Automated Teller Machine) is a kiosk that allows a person to purchase Bitcoin by using cash or debit card. Some Bitcoin ATMs offer bi-directional functionality enabling both the purchase of Bitcoin as well as the sale of Bitcoin for cash.
In some cases, Bitcoin ATM providers require users to have an existing account to transact on the machine.
Bitcoin ATM’s and Cash Kiosks
There are two main types of Bitcoin machines: cash kiosks and ATMs. Both types are connected to the Internet, allowing for cash or debit card payment, respectively, in exchange for bitcoins given as a paper receipt or by moving money to a public key on the blockchain. Bitcoin cash kiosks look like traditional ATMs, but do not connect to a bank account and instead connect the user directly to a Bitcoin exchange. Bitcoin-enabled ATMs are traditional ATMs and connect to a bank account to allow for a cashless purchase of bitcoin. According to an advisory issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “they may also charge high transaction fees – media reports describe transaction fees as high as 7% and exchange rates $50 over rates you could get elsewhere”
The countries with the most crypto ATMs are the U.S. with 4,120 locations, Canada with 733 locations, the U.K. with 295 locations, and Austria with 193 locations, according to Coinatmradar. In the U.S., 438 machines are found in Los Angeles, 273 in Chicago, 233 in Atlanta, and 212 in Miami. In Canada, 227 crypto ATMs are found in Toronto, 102 in Montreal, and 85 in Vancouver. Coinatmradar also offers the ability for users to search for crypto ATMs supporting particular coins: BTC, BCH, ETH, DASH, LTC, ZEC, XMR, and DOGE. Users can also restrict searches to one-way or two-way ATMs, with the latter allowing them to both sell and buy cryptocurrency. According to the site, 65% of all ATMs are buy-only whereas 34.9% are two-way.
History of Bitcoin ATM’s
On October 29, 2013, a Robocoin machine opened in the Waves coffee shop in downtown Vancouver, Canada. This machine is understood to be the world’s first publicly available Bitcoin ATM. Robocoin ceased operations in January 2016. First machine in the United States went online on February 18, 2014, in a cigar bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was removed 30 days later. In April 2014, Coinme became the first Bitcoin ATM provider with a money transmitters license installing a unit in Belltown in Seattle, Washington. On December 8, 2013, Europe’s first Bitcoin ATM was installed in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Bitcoin machines are not yet regulated in Canada, however regulations have been officially proposed for all bitcoin exchangers. In February, 2014, the Canadian Finance Minister mentioned plans to introduce anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations for virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. The Canadian Department of Finance circulated a draft of the proposed regulations in June 2018, but the law is not in Regulations or in-effect as of January 2019.
According to Coin ATM Radar, there are more than 2,342 Bitcoin ATMs in the United States as of January, 2018, with small shop owners earning a reported $300 a month for rental space. Transactions fees for ATM use are approximately 16 percent, while online transaction fees run about 7.5 percent. Part of the bitcoin ATMs operating in the US is imported from all over the world, for example from Prague. Czech company General Bytes has placed its machines in Las Vegas among other american cities.