The bitcoin ATM space is full of companies looking to provide an onramp and offramp for the digital currency.
Already, there are a ton of startups competing to provide bitcoin access in the form of familiar financial hardware — an Automated Teller Machine.
Do bitcoin ATMs make sense? We spoke to the bitcoin experts on ZapChain to find out.
Why bitcoin ATMs make sense…
There’s something to be said about the bitcoin industry providing a physical onramp to cryptocurrency. That is in essence what bitcoin ATMs provide to people — a familiar experience.
Today, there’s over 300 bitcoin ATMs all over the world, being used by people to convert cash into BTC and vice versa.
“The ATM is an excellent invention because it gives Bitcoin a physical presence in the form of a machine that is familiar to those who may not understand the BTC protocol.”
Bitcoin ATMs provide small businesses with a new form of payment. Instead of having to deal with physical cash or the high fees associated with credit and debit cards, bitcoin becomes an option with tremendous upside.
It’s likely one of the reasons why the North American market is such a large one for bitcoin ATM operators.
“If I owned a retail store in a major city center, I’d accept bitcoin and install a bitcoin ATM.”
Why bitcoin ATMs don’t make sense…
Some people see bitcoin only as digital. Because of this, it’s hard for some to understand why a person would want to use a bitcoin ATM when there are online services accessed from a computer or smartphone.
Also, bitcoin ATMs in some markets charge up to 10% or more to buy or sell BTC, which is much higher than online services charge.
“I don’t really understand the use case when I can go to Coinbase and Circle and acquire bitcoin without paying exorbitant fees / mark-up.”
“First of all, they are pretty expensive to use. On top of that, they are not common enough to be practical.”
In the end, bitcoin ATMs are in their infancy. There aren’t many of them worldwide, and they can be pricey to use. But they probably aren’t going anywhere.
As more people learn about bitcoin, there will be increased demand for bitcoin ATMs in order to buy and sell the digital currency.