A trend is emerging in the Bitcoin ATM industry. Demand for the services among the underbanked and unbanked has seen steady growth in the two years since the industry’s first Bitcoin ATMs—often referred to as Bitcoin Transaction Machines, or BTMs—were installed.
“These customers may have a passport and valid ID but may not be interested in setting up a local bank account,” Chris McAlary, CEO of Coin Cloud, a Bitcoin ATM operator in the western half of the continental U.S., said of underbanked customers.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) describes the unbanked as adults without an account with a bank or other financial institution. The FDIC estimates 10 million households in the U.S. are unbanked or underbanked. Estimates posit that approximately two billion people are unbanked globally.
CoinatmRadar satellite views of Bitcoin ATM’s worldwide.
Most are American born, but immigrants make up a considerable percentage overall. Research suggests immigrants who have lived through a banking crisis in their home countries are less likely to open a U.S. bank account.
Coin Cloud customers purchase on average $250 worth of bitcoins and sell on average $500 at the machines, according to McAlary. He observes that