Jameson Lopp, an influential cryptocurrency proponent was one of the first individuals in the space to point out that Bitcoin ATMs had surpassed expectations to rally throughout 2019. The CTO of CasaHODL was confident that the rise goes hand in hand with Bitcoin adoption around the world.
Bitcoin’s adoption rate has mostly been characterized by changes in various aspects of its system. Apart from the usual suspects such as price and market volume, analysts also look at developments in areas such as institutional adoption and the growth in Bitcoin ATM.
In a recent analysis conducted by Jameson Lopp and Coin ATM Radar, it was discovered that 2019 was quite a positive year for Bitcoin-related peripherals. Starting from 0 in 2014, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs had shot up to 6387 in 2019. This marked increase in the ATM numbers came despite Bitcoin’s steep fall in price.
The number of BTC ATMs at the start of 2019 was calculated to be 4102. The increase of almost 2000 ATMs was registered to be one of the biggest growth spikes in the industry since the Bitcoin hype scenario of 2017. Looking at the charts, it is pretty evident that the steepest climb came in the middle of 2018 when the graph almost spiked perpendicularly.
During the period between February 2018 and July 2018, the number of ATMs increased from 2211 to 3391, a period of much joy and fervour in the industry. Post this time period, the industry had come under the scanner by several regulatory bodies causing a lot of ATMs to be shut down.
Analysts have tried to predict what has caused such a significant jump in numbers and have come to several conclusions. In the United States, these Bitcoin ATMs are considered as Money Services Businesses, forcing them to come under the same anti-money laundering processes as that of cryptocurrency exchanges. The ATMs are also subject to multiple Know Your Customer [KYC] regulations that usually dissuade normal customers.
The rise in Bitcoin ATMs can also be attributed to a lock-in of economies such as Venezuela and Argentina. The aforementioned countries have been hit by various economic crises because of changes in governmental regulations and forced presidential rules. Although these ATMs are considered as a boon to the citizens, their mainstream appeal was dented because of scams in the space.
Just recently, an issue had come to light in Australia when users were asked to pay $50,000 through Bitcoin ATM machines. Around the same time, a con artist from Canada used ‘out of order’ signs to force people to transfer BTC to fake addresses and wallets.
The naysayers had their own comments on the system, with MartinAudley stating:
“Nobody, but absolutely nobody, uses them. Their operators are all losing money and will not continue with them.”