One of the most popular ways of buying and selling Bitcoin in exchange for fiat currency comes in the form of a Bitcoin ATM. Similar to how a bank ATM operates, Bitcoin Teller machines can accept fiat currency bills or hand them out, depending on which type of action the consumer takes. But how is the Bitcoin ATM landscape looking today? Let’s find out!
Selling Bitcoin Remains Cheaper Than Buying
As you would come to expect from Bitcoin ATM’s, most consumers are using these machines to buy small or large amounts of virtual currency in exchange for fiat currency bills. Bitcoin ATM’s will require some form of ID verification, depending on the amount of money the consumer is looking to spend. In most cases an ID scan or even a phone number verification through SMS are sufficient to complete this process.
But there is another reason why Bitcoin ATM’s are predominantly used for buying virtual currency, rather than selling. The reason for that is quite simple: all Bitcoin ATM’s around the world allow customers to purchase Bitcoin on the spot. But when it comes to selling Bitcoin back to the machine, things are a bit different.
At the time of publication, nearly 42% of all Bitcoin ATM’s in the world support both buying and selling of virtual currency. Even though this number has increased significantly compared to a year and a half ago, there are still plenty of locations where selling Bitcoin to an ATM is not an option. In other locations, there might be multiple two-way Bitcoin ATM’s in close proximity.
Fees are an important factor in determining whether or not to use a Bitcoin ATM, either for buying or selling virtual currency. When it comes to Bitcoin ATM fees, they can range from anywhere between 1% and up to 8% per transaction, on top of the current exchange rate. One thing customers have to keep in mind is that buying Bitcoin from an ATM means they will pay a premium price whereas selling to a Bitcoin ATM means they will earn less than the current exchange value.
Judging by the statistics provided by CoinATMRadar, the fees associated with selling Bitcoin to an ATM have decreased over time. Buying fees, on the other hand, have lowered slightly as well, but they are still relatively high, as the average fee remains at 6.11%. Selling Bitcoin to an ATM is done at an average fee of 5.31%.
Surpassing 450 Bitcoin ATM’s Worldwide
When passionate people share their vision of a Bitcoin ATM network with the rest of the world, there are a few factors to take into consideration. First of all, most banks have more ATM machines at their disposal compared to the total number of Bitcoin ATM’s in operation today. Even though there are currently 456 active Bitcoin ATM’s, that number is dwarfed by the total number of bank teller machines around the world.
But there is a growing trend in terms of Bitcoin ATM’s being deployed and activated as of late. Ever since April of 2014, the number of Bitcoin ATM’s has been increasing at a steady pace and it looks like that trend will continue for a while. With so many ATM manufacturers competing for a piece of the pie, the end user can only benefit from this “Bitcoin ATM war”.
There are still quite a few hurdles to overcome for Bitcoin ATM manufacturers and operators, though. First of all, the average Bitcoin ATM forces the consumer to bend whenever they want to deposit or pick up fiat currency at the machine. This makes the entire process look a bit clumsy and awkward, which is not boosting virtual currency adoption by any means.
Secondly, Bitcoin ATM’s only seem to pop up in locations that are not always prominent in terms of attracting foot traffic. While ATM’s at bus stations and airports would attract far more customers, operators have to pay fees to host their machine at these locations. There is an offset between costs and potential rewards, a situation that needs to be thoroughly looked at sooner or later.
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