The first Bitcoin ATM was installed in Vancouver, Canada in 2013. Six years later, 5006 ATM’s have been installed worldwide. This is an average of just under 6 ATMs per day, which is an amazing number considering barely 0.005% of people deal in cryptocurrencies.
It is not surprising that the US leads in the number of crypto vending machines. They have over 3200 ATMs all over the states. While Canada was the first to set up an ATM, the US has gobbled up 64% of the total share of Bitcoin ATMs. Canada is second with over 680 ATMs located all over the country. The majority of these are, as expected, in urban areas with a large tech population. North America has the lion’s share of the total number of ATMs in the world. Mexico, US and Canada, along with other countries, make up 74% of the world’s Bitcoin ATMs.
Strangely enough, the Crypto ATM installations spiked immediately after the collapse of Bitcoin in December 2017. There have been 3000 new ATMs installed after January 2018. This is an interesting phenomenon because it shows that people view crypto as an important and fluctuating investment that can garner profits. After seeing how much it increased, they jumped on the first opportunity to buy when the price reduced. Looking at the recent upswing in Bitcoin value, which has increased to $12000 today, it seems they may have made the right decision. To facilitate easy access to these crypto, ATMs installations have increased steadily. If we were to estimate the rate of ATMs that may exist in the future, it looks to be a lucrative business. Considering that the rate of 6 per day holds, we are looking at an increase of 700 cryptocurrency ATMs per year. And the market is only going to increase in the future, pushing estimates even further. Incidentally, the first ATM for bitcoin was set up in a coffee house in Vancouver, Canada on October 29th, 2019. Robocoin were the first company that started the revolution. They have been overtaken by newer players since then. The leading cryptocurrency ATM manufacturer at the moment is General Bytes with 1550 locations all over the world. Next comes Genesis Coin with 1497 installations in various locations and third Lamassu with 439 installations. Unfortunately, Robocoin as shut shop and has been closed for the past 3 years.
The ATMs for cryptocurrencies are the first attempt at truly bringing crypto to the common man. Usually, there is very little in terms of location when it comes to crypto, which is a major psychological factor for humans. We tend to trust something that has a physical presence and ATMs not only provide presence but also convenience.
Of late, the ATM for crypto has taken a hit as there have been cases of scammers using it to steal from people. Many city councils and organisations have sought to close down these ATMs over fears of money laundering. However, there has been enough education to push back against such punitive norms.