The number of Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) installed worldwide has been steadily growing after a plunge in 2023, according to data. The net increase was almost 6,000 machines since last July. The growth streak was broken only once in May 2024, when the net change accounted for minus 120 kiosks.

Even with the installation speed of 22 BTMs daily, the current growth lags behind the rates of 2021, when over 2000 machines were installed monthly, and still has to reclaim the all-time high of over 39,500 BTMs.

The current growth, as well as the previous downturn, is mainly due to movement in the United States, where over 31,600 out of the total of 38,200 machines are located at the moment.

While Tether USD is the gold standard for online crypto transfers, the offline machines mainly support bitcoin, ether, and some altcoins. Surprisingly, the number of BTMs supporting meme-coin DOGE outnumbers those using USDT.

The main manufacturers of Bitcoin ATMs include Genesis Coin, General Bytes, and BitAccess. According to the tracking platform data, the first two show steady growth, while the latter has seen some turbulence over the last year. This is despite the fact that Bitcoin Depot, with over 7,000 machines, converted all its kiosks to BitAccess software in 2023.

While the most obvious explanation for the growth could be the rise in Bitcoin’s price, Bitcoin Depot, the biggest BTM operator in the U.S., said earlier there is no correlation between its revenues (and, we suppose, consequently, the pace of expansion) and the price of Bitcoin.

The correlation might appear as the company plans to allocate a portion of its cash reserves to Bitcoin. The company added that, for now, BTMs are mainly located in North America (over 90%), and considering the growing adoption level worldwide, it sees many opportunities for international expansion.

Researchers predict that the BTMs market will grow from USD 19 million in 2023 to USD 664 million by 2032. Although the service, which offers physical access to buying and selling crypto, still has room for growth, competition, and development, regulatory uncertainty and compliance issues are among the various factors contributing to the decline in the number of machines.

Local legal authorities in the UK and the U.S. are reportedly pursuing and shutting down illegal Bitcoin ATMs, which are often used for scams and exploits. While there is no clear explanation for the downturn in 2023, Brandon Mintz, the CEO and founder of Bitcoin Depot, said that this declining trend was due to operators turning off unprofitable machines or quitting the market.

There is also a controversy around the overall strategy for this niche market. While the crypto industry companies typically bet on and promote total financial inclusion and accessibility, crypto ATMs with huge fees and adjusted exchange rates in total charge their users around 20% commission for their services (and prefer not to disclose this fact). It has been alleged the BTM companies, specifically Bitcoin Depot, located their machines in areas with large Black and Latino populations, targeting underbanked and unbanked people, and preying on the poor. Whether this strategy is sustainable remains to be Observed.

Share this article
The link has been copied!