The consumer’s embrace of self service has dovetailed with the rising popularity of cryptocurrency, as evidenced by Circle K’s crypto ATM rollout over the past year. More than 700 Circle K stores in 30 states now offer crypto ATMs provided by Bitcoin Depot.
The partnership between the world’s largest convenience store chain and the leading crypto ATM operator that began in 2020 proved to be a winning combination, notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic.
While the coronavirus pandemic decimated sales for overall retail, inside sales for convenience stores increased to a record $255.6 billion in 2020 as customers frequented their local convenience stores to fulfill daily shopping needs, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
In addition, the government stimulus fueled cryptocurrency purchasing, according to a panel on crypto ATMs during the recent Self-Service Innovation Summit.
A new customer convenience
“Our stores are woven into the fabric of the neighborhoods we serve, and having crypto available for sale gives them a compelling incentive to visit our stores,” Matt Hieb, vice president of global procurement at Circle K, said in an email interview with this website. “Our crypto kiosks are positioned well inside the box and are near the cash dispensing ATMs that we have in all of our locations.”
Customers can buy more than 30 cryptocurrencies instantly on Bitcoin Depot’s crypto ATMs.
The whole process from signing up for a cryptocurrency wallet to completing a transaction takes up to two minutes. The user creates an account on a cryptocurrency wallet, then inserts cash into the machine to purchase cryptocurrency. The crypto is immediately transferred to the user’s crypto wallet.
“This gives us a strong and meaningful presence in a fast growing category, opening us up to a wider customer base,” Hieb said. “Through this partnership, we have expanded our offerings in order to serve the current and future needs of customers.”
Customers can find all Circle K locations with crypto ATMs on the Bitcoin Depot website.
For many consumers, particularly those that are less tech savvy, crypto ATMs make buying crypto easier than doing so on a cryptocurrency exchange website.
“Many customers are curious about how they can purchase crypto, and thanks to some well-positioned information and digital guides on how to use the machines, they have been a big hit,” said Hieb. “Feedback from customers has been well received and overwhelmingly positive as our stores have provided them a convenient destination for crypto purchasing in our stores.”
The crypto ATM is positioned near the traditional ATM, allowing customers to use cash to buy crypto.
Bitcoin’s volatile price will not impede its growth, according to Brandon Mintz, CEO of Bitcoin Depot.
“We believe that the volatility of digital assets doesn’t have an effect on what we do, and this is because we consider the overall, long-term growth of bitcoin and other cryptos,” he said.
Bitcoin Depot operated just shy of 7,000 (6,944) crypto ATMs in mid-February, accounting for just under 20% (19.4%) of the worldwide crypto ATM market, according to coinatmradar.com, which tracks crypto ATMs. In the U.S., Bitcoin Depot operated 6,747 units and held 21.4% of the market, according to coinatmradar.com.
“At Circle K, we are passionate about making our customers’ lives a little easier every day, and we are continually looking at ways to enhance their experience in our stores and be their favorite stop for a growing range of needs and occasions,” Denny Tewell, senior vice president of global merchandise and procurement at Circle K, said in a prepared statement. “Our partnership with Bitcoin Depot further builds on this commitment, giving our brand an important, early presence in the fast-growing cryptocurrency marketplace as a convenient destination where customers can buy bitcoin.”