It seems like Bitcoin ATMs exploded overnight. While previously only concentrated in big cities, now I see them everywhere in places ranging from gas stations to used games stores. I don’t think these Bitcoin ATMs are a mere fad. I think they will be an enduring trend for some time for a few reasons.
Bitcoin use has exploded
While previously a curiosity among the IT crowds, bitcoin is now a household name across the globe, as we can see by its exploding userbase.
Statista estimates there are currently 221 million cryptocurrency users. In fact, the number of users of cryptocurrencies increased by 190% from 2018 to 2020 alone.
This interest in crypto expands beyond bitcoin itself with the growing popularity and value of non-fugible tokens, digital certifications of ownership of a piece of digital media: frequently a unique form of art.
It opens up wealth to underserved markets
Bitcoin ATMs show up in many unexpected places. They aren’t just in fancy restaurants. They are also in smaller strip mall establishments. I believe this is because these ATMs open up wealth to traditionally underserved populations.
Many of these individuals do not have access to a 401K, a bank account or other ways of accruing wealth, but they often do have cash, which they can use to purchase bitcoin from these ATMs.
By investing into bitcoin, they are gaining access to a highly volatile currency, but one that has certainly grown significantly in value over time, going from just shy of $20K at the end of 2020 to around $42K at the time of the writing of this article.
It taps into the power of cash
While many have said that cash is dead, the statistics don’t quite line up with this reality. While many people have switched to cashless methods, cash still accounts for around 20% of all transactions globally, Michael Graham, VP of retail strategy and solution at Hyosung said in a story on ATM Marketplace.
However, these cash users were not previously able to purchase bitcoin with cash due it to being only available for purchase online. Bitcoin ATMs answer a need in the market by providing a convenient tool to purchase bitcoin in person with cash.
As a result, Bitcoin ATMs can often form symbiotic relationships with traditional ATMs, since users can pull out cash from one to use at the Bitcoin ATM.
Bitcoin will likely continue to be a major player in the cryptocurrency market for some time, and even if it does fade in popularity, crypto ATMs can simply adopt whichever cryptocurrency takes its place as top dog in the market.