Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Bitcoin ATMs: Welcome to a new generation of currency

Bitcoin ATMs: Welcome to a new generation of currency

Bitcoin ATMs and digital currency machines are being installed all over the United States and in countries around the globe.
In the not-too-distant future, Americans won't have to drive or even walk very far to find a bitcoin ATM.

Connected to the internet, Bitcoin ATMs resemble traditional ATMs but link to an exchange rather than a bank account. The machines take cash for bitcoin or other digital currencies. Some also let users sell bitcoin for cash.

Most of the transactions involve people paying $300 to $500 to buy a small stake in bitcoin, the price of which has been surging (along with its carbon emissions), lately trading at a record high near $62,000. Users pay transaction fees that range from 6% to 12%, according to Pamela Clegg, director of financial investigations and education at cryptocurrency compliance firm CipherTrace.

The machines offer a way into the market to those who "may not have the desire or funds to open an account at one of the big exchanges," Clegg said.

Not yet ubiquitous, bitcoin ATMs are in stores, restaurants and airports scattered across the country. They can be found in all but two states — Alaska and Vermont — as well as in the District of Columbia, according to Coin ATM Radar.

There's already a kiosk offering the world's most popular currency for cash in the gift shop of the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, a town of less than 500 people. "Coin Cloud contacted us," museum owner Vivian Sonder told CBS MoneyWatch. "I told them we're very seasonal and it's kind of quiet right now, and they said 'Nope, that's okay'."

"A few people have used it," Sonder said of the machine installed about five months ago and for which Coin Cloud pays her $200 in rent. "It's not that we're not aware of bitcoin, but we're a tourism and ranching community."

That said, the move to having a bitcoin ATM on every corner is only picking up speed. The count of cryptocurrency ATMs across the U.S. accelerated 85% over the last six months to roughly 14,000 from 7,567 in September 2020, according to data compiled by Trading Platforms.

Las Vegas, Nevada-based Coin Cloud has 1,600 machines offering 35 different digital currencies up and running across the U.S., with another 400 going up this month and plans to have 10,000 installed by the end of the year.

"Our company has grown 400%, 500% every year since 2014 and is self-financed," Chris McAlary, Coin Cloud's founder and CEO of Coin Cloud, said. "The industry has grown out of consumer demand, not because of some VC behind us."

Making an investment is the biggest reason people use the machines, followed by remittance or paying off an invoice, typically an international payment, McAlary said.

"You could buy bitcoin in the U.S. and have it immediately sent to family in another country," so long as there are places to cash it, Clegg said. The transaction fees could be lower than those of other money-transfer companies like Western Union or MoneyGram, she added.

Convenience is also a factor. "A bitcoin ATM is the only way to get bitcoin in under 20 minutes," said Ben Weiss, president and COO of CoinFlip, which like Coin Cloud, pitches its machines to retailers and convenience stops as a way to bring in additional foot traffic and extra income for renting out space. Also in expansion mode, Chicago-based CoinFlip operates 2,000 bitcoin ATMs in 46 states, adding 1,000 of the ATMs in 2020 and another 500 so far this year.

"The reason people use the bitcoin ATMs is there are still a lot of people who are unbanked, or underbanked," added Weiss.

About 7.1 million U.S. households, or 5.4%, did not have a bank account in 2019, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That cash economy has many making weekly treks to cash paychecks. "In smaller town USA, check cashiers are still a real thing," said Clegg.

Consumers should consider the transaction fees and locations of bitcoin ATMs, with some operators more scrupulous than others, said Clegg, who also cautioned those using the machines to buy digital currency to first check what it's fetching online.

Related Articles

Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police