Over 10,000 Bitcoin ATMs installed globally in 2021 as demand for crypto surges

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With cryptocurrencies moving towards mainstream adoption, players in the sector are putting in place structures to support the shift. Notably, with the recent demand for assets like Bitcoin growing, the number of ATMs supporting digital currency transactions is also on the rise.

According to data acquired by Finbold, in the first three-quarters of 2021, a total of 13,242 Bitcoin ATMs had been installed globally. A significant number of the machines were installed in 2021 Q3 at 4,779, a growth of 7.8% from Q2’s 4,430 ATMs. The first three months of the year recorded the installation of 4,033 new machines. July recorded the highest installations at 1,963 machines. 

Elsewhere, on the continental distribution of the ATMs, North America dwarfs the rest of the world with 26,489 machines representing a share of 93.5%. Europe ranks second with 1,268 ATMs or a share of 4.5%. Interestingly, despite accounting for a significant number of cryptocurrency users, Asia has only 234 ATMs or 0.8% share. Data on global Bitcoin ATM installation is provided by Coin ATM Radar.

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Drivers for global Bitcoin ATM growth 

The accelerated Bitcoin ATM installations for 2021 highlights the role of the machines amid the growing popularity and adoption of cryptocurrencies globally. Interestingly, the installation surged in the third quarter despite the general correction of Bitcoin. This is a possible indicator that providers and investors are bullish on the long-term prospects of the sector. 

Overall, Bitcoin surged in 2021, fuelled by institutions that attracted more retail investors who aimed to profit from the rising value of the asset. In this case, users who want to profit from the asset found Bitcoin ATMs attractive as they potentially aimed to bypass the complex KYC protocols synonymous with crypto exchanges. Additionally, the ATMs enabled people to get involved in the crypto sector that is increasingly viewed as a hedge against inflation and a store of wealth, especially in the wake of economic meltdown resulting from the pandemic. 

Furthermore, ATMs are now helping in facilitating payments through Bitcoin. Notably, more firms are positioning themselves to benefit from the crypto boom by allowing customers to pay in Bitcoin. This aspect is further boosted by El Salvador’s declaration of Bitcoin as a legal tender

For businesses, they are propelling the two-way ATMs that come with a double functionality feature where users can buy and sell cryptos. The demand for two-way ATMs is growing due to their multifunctionality features. 

Like the general cryptocurrency sector, the Bitcoin ATM scene is also witnessing innovations as players aim to leverage the aspects of the machine’s user-friendliness. In this line, installers also focus on the display segment that is considered user-friendly to many ATM users due to cost-effectiveness and lack of additional fittings. 

How North America has managed to dominate Bitcoin ATM scene

Despite unclear crypto regulations, North America dominates the global Bitcoin ATMs due to high demand and innovations in the space. Notably, the region also accounts for a substantial share of crypto ATM suppliers in a more friendly environment. Elsewhere, countries like Canada and Mexico are emerging as fintech hubs in the region. 

At the same time, the U.S has also recorded a partnership in the provision of Bitcoin ATMs. Recently, two leading Bitcoin ATM manufacturing companies, ChainBytes and Hippo Kiosks, partnered to provide the machines in Pennsylvania. 

Currently, the number of Bitcoin ATMs globally can be considered insignificant compared to the traditional finance sector; however, the growth potentially points to what to expect in the future. With crypto users growing, the ATMs are expected to surge to accommodate the new investors. On the other hand, the unclear regulatory landscape poses a threat to the sector’s growth.