The rise of Bitcoin has been met with a surge in popularity and a growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a means of acquiring digital assets. However, despite the continued growth of Bitcoin itself, the number of kiosks providing the option to acquire cryptocurrencies using cash or debit cards has been on a decline.
Coin ATM Radar, a tracking platform for crypto ATMs, reported a significant decrease in the total count of crypto ATMs worldwide. Starting with 37,827 on January 1, 2023, the number dwindled to 33,628 on January 1, 2024, marking a noticeable decline in just one year. This departure from the norm is worth examining, especially considering the historical trend of annual growth in Bitcoin ATMs.
For a decade prior to 2023, the number of installed Bitcoin ATMs consistently showed an annual uptrend, experiencing growth at the beginning of each year. In fact, between October 2013 and August 2022, the figure reached an all-time high of 39,376. This demonstrated the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies and the acceptance of crypto ATMs as a convenient means of acquiring digital assets.
However, in 2023, there was a departure from this historical trend as the net total of Bitcoin ATMs experienced a decline by the year’s end. The global count of installed crypto ATMs is now approximately 11.1% lower than at the beginning of 2023.
Among the countries affected by this decline, the United States stands out prominently. While being home to 82% of all crypto ATMs globally, the US saw a substantial drop of 15.4% in its ATM count, falling from 32,672 to 27,631 throughout 2023. Interestingly, BitAccess, a prominent crypto ATM manufacturer, may have played a significant role in this decrease. The company’s net installations witnessed a decline of 26%, dropping from 9,160 in August 2022 to 6,774 on January 1, 2024.
It is worth noting that 2023 had its fair share of bizarre cases related to Bitcoin ATMs. One such case involved a 51-year-old resident of Jefferson City, Missouri, named Matthew Klinger. He received a five-year supervised probation sentence after confessing to shooting a Bitcoin ATM with a handgun. Klinger claimed that his motive was to prevent the machine from taking money from others.
Another case involved Lux Vending, operating under the name Bitcoin Depot, which reportedly initiated legal action against the sheriff’s office of McLennan County, Texas. The lawsuit alleged the unlawful seizure of $15,000 from a Bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) by authorities. The confiscated funds were meant to compensate an elderly victim who had fallen prey to an online crypto scam.
However, there were positive developments amidst these unusual circumstances. Bitcoin Depot went public on the Nasdaq on July 3 and expanded its operations to the 28th US state. The company also reported a revenue of $179.5 million in Q3 2023, indicating a 3% year-on-year increase.
Despite the slowdown in the US, Bitcoin ATM figures continued to grow in countries like Australia, Canada, Spain, and Poland. Additionally, two major manufacturers, General Bytes and Genesis Coin, played a part in expanding the count of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide throughout the year.
This changing landscape of Bitcoin ATMs begs the question of what factors may have influenced this decline. It could be that the increasing availability of online platforms and exchanges has made crypto ATMs less necessary. Additionally, regulatory hurdles and the overall maturity of the cryptocurrency industry may have contributed to this decline.
As cryptocurrencies continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how the landscape of Bitcoin ATMs further transforms. Whether this decline is a temporary deviation or a sign of a longer-term shift remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the decrease in crypto ATMs offers a glimpse into the dynamic nature of the cryptocurrency market and the adaptability of industry players.