The Bitcoin ATM industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with six new crypto-ATMs being installed every day, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down either, with expert projections forecasting an annual compound growth rate of 46.61 percent by 2024. This growth is largely fueled by the rapid adoption of blockchain-based currencies – with the number of people in the United States who own bitcoin – or similar blockchain-based currencies – doubling since 2019.
One of the industry leaders driving this rapid adoption is Brandon Mintz, CEO of Bitcoin Depot, a leading crypto-ATM network. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Bitcoin Depot has installed over 40 percent of all Bitcoin ATMs across the United States, and is one of the top three multi-cryptocurrency ATM operators in the world. According to Mintz, this forecasted massive growth is already evidenced in the relatively new industry, with acquisitions of smaller operators by larger operators beginning to take place.
In fact, Bitcoin Depot conducted the first acquisition of this kind – having announced their takeover of ten DFW Bitcoin ATMs across Texas earlier this year. The company has no plans of stopping there either, having recently announced their plans to have 1000 total bitcoin ATMs installed throughout the United States by the end of 2020.
Driven by the Underbanked
This aggressive expansion is something Mintz, an early adopter of cryptocurrency, believes to be driven by the willingness of people – underbanked communities, specifically – to adopt new and alternative banking options. “The physical Bitcoin ATMs provide a vital connection between underbanked communities and the crypto-world,” explains Mintz. “We’re seeing our user numbers rising day by day, usually by those who don’t – for one reason or another – trust traditional banking systems, or who complain fees for transferring money internationally are much too high.”
The ‘underbanked’, totaling eight percent of America’s population, are those who don’t have access to traditional banking services such as checking accounts, lines of credit, savings, or other digital currencies. Barriers that exist include high fees, lack of convenience and distrust among some socioeconomic groups around traditional banking systems.
Mintz, an advocate for the simplification of access to blockchain-based currencies, has stated that the prevalence of bitcoin ATMs, coupled with ease of access – users can register with Bitcoin Depot on the spot using their ATMs – and the maintenance of low transaction fees will continue to drive adoption rates within underbanked communities as well as the general public.
New digital currencies will fuel further crypto-ATM growth
Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, exploded onto the scene in 2009. Since then, over 1600 additional blockchain-based currencies have joined the crypto-landscape, with the most popular and valuable being Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Tether. Since 2009, the value of these currencies has proven blockchain to be something of a modern marvel, with cryptocurrency values increasing in worth from pennies into the thousands in just ten years.
While many types of digital currencies exist, we’re just now beginning to see the emergence of large and established companies – and even banks – releasing cryptocurrencies of their own, with social media juggernaut Facebook announcing the launch of their own cryptocurrency, Libra, in the first half of 2020. Libra is set to make waves in developing countries, where Facebook plans to leverage existing public trust in these regions to provide a viable, affordable banking option where very few exist.
There’s nothing particularly special or new about Libra, with the blockchain operating like any other cryptocurrency. But for Mintz, it’s an exciting prospect; Libra’s launch, paired with the emergence of other new blockchain-based currencies is a reflection of the ever-increasing adoption of digital currencies. As more and more people turn to cryptocurrency as a viable option to store, transfer and invest money, user demand for physical touchpoints to manage their money are sure to increase.
This forecasted symbiotic demand has Bitcoin Depot poised to cement their status as the leading Bitcoin ATM provider in the industry, with Mintz stating “our plan is to increase our network to 1000 ATMs by the end of 2020 to fulfill our mission of making cryptocurrency accessible to everyone.”