BILLINGS, Mont.—Bright bitcoin ATMs are being spotted at smoke shops, delis and gas stations across the U.S., Reuters reports. These automated teller machines let customers purchase or sell the digital currency.
CoinFlip and Coil Cloud have installed bitcoin ATMs by the thousands—with an untapped market just waiting to be filled. “I just assumed there was demand and people wanted bitcoin everywhere,” said Mark Shoiket, who founded Quad Coin, another bitcoin ATM provider. He recently went to Montana searching for places to install Quad Coin ATMs.
According to howmanybitcoinatms.com, as of January 2021, the U.S. had 28,185 bitcoin ATMs, with about 10,000 being installed during the previous five months. The growing popularity of bitcoin has been driving the need for ATMs, which vary with what they allow customers to do. Some only have bitcoin transactions, while others allow customers to invest in additional digital currencies. Few dispense cash.
Bitcoin ATMs charge more for transactions, with fees ranging from 6% to 20% of the total transaction, according to Pamela Clegg, director of financial investigations and education at CipherTrace. “The growth of the ATM market—it is not even a gentle increase, it is almost a 45% increase,” she said. “The growth is quite astonishing.”
Currently, every state except Alaska, along with Washington, D.C., have at least one bitcoin ATM, according to Coin ATM Radar. The pandemic hasn’t slowed interest in the digital currency either. “We expected the worst as COVID hit, but stimulus payments came out and that helped quite a bit,” said Coin Cloud CEO Chris McAlary. “Some people took stimulus and bought digital currency with it.”
Coin Cloud has nearly 1,500 machines in the US, with plans to expand to 10,000 by the end of 2021. CoinFlip has 1,800 ATMs, up from 420 in 2020. Bitcoin Depot’s ATMs went from 500 to more than 1,800 over the past year.
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