The number of active Bitcoin ATMs around the world grew by an impressive 56 percent over the last 12 months. Although the spread of the real-world Bitcoin trading locations doesn’t necessarily suggest increased rates of adoption, it will help to further normalize Bitcoin in the eyes of the public.
There are now 6,387 Bitcoin ATMs around the world. This time last year, according to figures taken from CoinATMRadar, the number was just 4,102.
Looking slightly further back, the number of Bitcoin ATMs has more than tripled since January 2018. This time two years ago, there were just 2,058 machines.
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) January 1, 2020
The majority of the planet’s Bitcoin ATMs are still located in the United States. The nation alone boasts an impressive 4,221 machines, an increase from 2,296 the previous year. Interestingly, not all nations increased their number of Bitcoin trading terminals. Austria, for example, started 2019 with 258 Bitcoin ATMs and ended the year with just 184.
The rising number of Bitcoin ATMs does not give any indication about the machines’ actual usage and, unfortunately, the excessive trading fees often charged certainly limit the utility of these machines. A report in CBS News claimed that the average cost of using one of the terminals was around nine percent in 2017. Such steep fees will likely price out most users, except those needing very fast cash for their Bitcoin or for those trying the machine simply for the novelty of it.
Although the fees might limit their actual use, the proliferation of the machines is beneficial to the Bitcoin industry. Most of the global public is ignorant of what Bitcoin even is and there is still a stigma around the digital currency thanks to its early associations with criminality. Bitcoin ATMs move the cryptocurrency from occasional newspaper appearances about money laundering or online drug dealing and into various businesses around the world. Repeated exposure to Bitcoin in this fashion will serve to further familiarise those seeing the devices with Bitcoin, whether they actually use them or not.