“Bitcoin ATM installations hit a roadblock, plunging to a two-year low, as the crypto community reevaluates its approach amidst a shifting landscape.”
The number of bitcoin ATMs worldwide has reached its lowest level in two years. According to a recent report from Coindesk, there are currently 32,500 bitcoin ATMs available, which is a decline of 7,000 or 17% over the past year. This decrease follows a previous increase from 34,500 ATMs at the end of 2021.
The United States, which hosts the largest number of bitcoin ATMs, has experienced the most significant drop in installations. With about 26,700 machines in the country, this decline is noteworthy. Despite the decrease, the U.S. still has nearly 18 times the number of bitcoin ATMs compared to the entire European region, which hosts around 1,500 machines.
One factor for the decline is the controversy surrounding the potential use of bitcoin ATMs for crime. Scammers have been exploiting platforms like eBay, urging buyers to deposit funds into specific bitcoin wallets through ATMs. Once the funds are deposited, the scammers disappear, leaving buyers at a loss.
Brandon Mintz, CEO and founder of Bitcoin Depot, suggested that the decline is also due to operators shutting down unprofitable ATMs or going out of business entirely. Mintz views this trend as an opportunity for his company to expand its market share through acquisitions and kiosk growth in additional retail locations.
The decreasing number of bitcoin ATMs raises concerns about their future and role within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. While controversies surrounding their potential use for illicit activities may have contributed to the decline, market forces and profitability concerns are likely playing a role as well.
One example of a company that was unable to weather this shift is Cash Cloud, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The company, which did business as Coin Cloud, had over 5,000 ATMs in 47 states across the U.S. as well as Brazil. Its ATMs allowed users to buy and sell various cryptocurrencies with cash or card.
Overall, the decline in bitcoin ATMs reflects the challenges and changes happening in the cryptocurrency industry. It remains to be seen how this trend will continue and what it means for the future of bitcoin ATMs.