The number of bitcoin ATM locations has been growing rapidly amid the coronavirus crisis, with currently over 10,000 bitcoin ATMs installed worldwide.
Norwegian financial services firm AksjeBloggen reported that as of December 2017, there were only 1,932 BTMs in the world. A year after, this figure soared to 4,009, a 107% jump. The number of BTMs operating around the world continued growing in 2019 and hit 5,795 before the year ended.
The cryptocurrency ATM installed has however witnessed a surge in 2020, with 3,900 new BTMs operating worldwide as of September, with some machines removed due to claims of fraud.
US Leading Bitcoin ATM Use
The below chart shows the net change of the number of cryptocurrency machines installed and removed monthly.
As per Statista, US Bitcoin ATMs hit over 7,800 in September. Canada is ranked as the second-largest market globally, with 869 machines as of September. The UK, Austria, Spain, and Switzerland follow with 278, 150, 106, and 81 BTMs, respectively.
As reported by the firm, there are 557 operators that run crypto ATMs. 51.9% of ATMs are run by the top 10 operators, while the remaining 48.1% are run by others. BTM operator CoinFlip alone runs 920 Crypto ATMs.
CoinFlip CEO Daniel Polotsky said,
ATMs are proving to be one of the most convenient and quickest ways to transfer physical cash into Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies…you to go to the ATM, use cash and you get Bitcoin right away—before you even get back to your car.
The world’s first Bitcoin ATM was launched in Canada by a group of young entrepreneurs in 2013. The machine converts bitcoins to Canadian dollars and vice versa.
Money Laundering Concerns
But not all countries have been able to keep BTM machines. Authorities worry that BTMs present a simple method of currency conversion for money laundering and tax evasion. Some have added new legislation, which makes unlicensed machines illegal.
Recently, unlicensed BTMs were seized in Germany by authorities. The machines were said to have been in violation of German regulations, which were passed at the end of 2019. The US also took down a $25 million BTM operation and seized 17 machines.