Bitcoin ATM Count Grows by 500% in Three Years
The Bitcoin ATM scene continues to see impressive growth figures pointing to increasing demand and profitability of the business. Bitcoin mapping platform “bitrawr” says there has been a six-fold increase in the total global crypto ATM count since September 2019. Meanwhile, regulators are beginning to shine the spotlight on crypto kiosks over fears of money laundering and other illicit financial activities.
More than 5,500 Bitcoin ATMs Installed Worldwide
Data from CoinATMRadar shows that there are more than 5,500 Bitcoin ATMs around the world. Tweeting on Thursday (September 19, 2019), bitrawr revealed that the number of Bitcoin ATMs installed across the globe since September 2016 has increased by 500 percent.
For bitrawr, this massive growth points to the increasing demand for crypto kiosks around the world as a way of buying digital currencies. Back in late June 2019, BTCManager reported that the global Bitcoin ATM count had surpassed the 5,000 milestone.
This growth in the industry is one that is spreading to several countries outside of North America and Europe. Earlier in September, peer to peer (P2P) bitcoin trading platform Paxful and CoinLogiq — a global remittance startup, were looking to install 20 new Bitcoin ATMs in Colombia.
North America and Europe still dominate the crypto ATM scene according to figures from CoinATMRadar. The United States and Canada have over 3,400 and 630 Bitcoin ATMs respectively.
Despite the significant growth in the global crypto ATM count, operators still face numerous operational difficulties. Speaking during a recent interview, Cory Capaldi, CEO of TheCoinBros — a crypto ATM operator said liquidity is a major challenge for many in the business. Capaldi also revealed that starting and advertising costs also pose significant roadblocks.
Crypto Kiosks and Money Laundering Concerns
Increasing regulatory scrutiny is also becoming another headache for Bitcoin ATM operators in some countries around the world. In mid-July 2019, law enforcement in Spain said crypto ATMs were undermining anti-money laundering (AML) efforts in the European Union (EU).
Europe as a whole has over 1,200 crypto ATMs amounting to one-fifth of the global total. Elsewhere in Canada, authorities have also leveled criticisms at crypto ATMs.
In Vancouver, the city’s mayor called for a blanket ban on Bitcoin ATMs. According to the mayor, crypto ATMs serve as the “ideal money-laundering vehicle.” The call for the prohibition served as a complete 180 for the city that saw the world’s first-ever Bitcoin ATM.