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Global Bitcoin ATM Count Drops Amid Inflation and High Operational Costs

4 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Although the crypto market is recovering, Bitcoin ATMs are losing popularity.
  • The total number has declined precipitously from a high point in 2021.
  • While the United States still has the highest number of crypto ATMs, most of those removed were in America.
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The number of Bitcoin ATMs, or crypto ATMs, has plummeted this year. According to data compiled by BitcoinCasinos.com, more than 5,300 Bitcoin ATMs have been removed year-to-date. The total number fell to around 33,800 worldwide. 

The year 2022 proved to be a challenging time for the cryptocurrency industry. Last year was marked by a year-long bear market accompanied by geopolitical tensions and global inflation. This resulted in a dramatic slowdown in the installation of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide. 

This report explores the reasons behind the bear market, geopolitical tensions, and global inflation and how they affected the crypto industry. Particularly the installation of Bitcoin ATMs.

Bearish Narratives

“Bear market” is a term used to describe a period of declining asset prices. Typically in the stock or cryptocurrency markets. In the crypto industry, a bear market is often characterized by a severe drop in the value of cryptocurrencies. That can last for months or even years. In 2022, the crypto industry was hit by a year-long bear market that affected the growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies.

One of the reasons for the bear market was the crackdown on cryptocurrency trading and mining activities by several countries worldwide. China, previously a hub for crypto mining, banned all cryptocurrency-related activities, including trading and mining. This led to a massive drop in the price of cryptocurrencies. Particularly Bitcoin, which impacted the installation of Bitcoin ATMs. 

ATMs Disappear

Investors and businesses became more cautious, leading to lower demand for crypto services, including the installation of Bitcoin ATMs. September 2022 was the first time total crypto ATMs saw a net decline. However, 2023 marked a new low with a reduction in total crypto ATM installations for consecutive months. 

Net crypto ATM installations worldwide. Source: Coin ATM Radar
Net crypto ATM installations worldwide. Source: Coin ATM Radar

With 3,627 crypto ATMs going down last month, as evident in the graph above. March 2023 becomes the month with the sharpest monthly decline of crypto ATMs.

Geopolitical tensions also played a role in the bear market and the slowdown of Bitcoin ATM installations. The year 2022 was marked by increased tensions between countries, particularly the United States and China, which resulted in a trade war. This ripple effect on the global economy led to rising inflation worldwide. Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services increases, leading to a drop in the purchasing power of a currency.

Effects of Inflation

The rise in inflation rates affected the crypto industry in several ways. First, by making it more expensive to operate crypto-mining facilities, reducing the number of miners worldwide. Second, it hurt the purchasing power of investors, adding difficulty to investing in cryptocurrencies, including ATM installation. Finally, by making it more challenging for businesses to operate in the crypto industry amid increased operational costs.

As a result of the bear market and geopolitical tensions, the installation of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide slowed down in 2022. Bitcoin ATMs allow users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies using cash or debit cards. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, often in countries where the adoption of cryptocurrencies is high. However, the bear market and geopolitical tensions affected the crypto industry’s growth, limiting the number of Bitcoin ATMs installed worldwide.

According to data from BitcoinCasinos.com shared with BeInCrypto, more than 5,300 Bitcoin ATMs have been removed year-to-date. The total number fell to around 33,800 worldwide.

Number of Bitcoin worldwide from Jan. 18 to April 23 Source: BitcoinCasinos.com
Number of Bitcoin worldwide from Jan. 18 to April 23 Source: BitcoinCasinos.com

Furthermore, the slowdown in installing Bitcoin ATMs was also due to increased regulatory scrutiny worldwide. Governments and regulatory bodies became more concerned about using cryptocurrencies for illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing. As a result, they introduced stricter regulations on crypto-related activities, including the installation of Bitcoin ATMs. This made it more challenging for businesses to operate in the crypto industry, lowering the number of Bitcoin ATMs installed worldwide.

The Need for Installations

Overall, myriad factors led to a decline. Contrary to what some assume, the ATMs do play a crucial role. Bitcoin ATMs can be important for people in the crypto world who are cut off from traditional banking, for several reasons:

  1. Accessibility: These machines provide easy access to buying and selling cryptocurrencies, which is particularly important for those who don’t have access to traditional banking services. Using a Bitcoin ATM allows people to quickly and easily buy or sell Bitcoin without needing a bank account or other financial intermediaries.
  2. Anonymity: Bitcoin ATMs can offer a certain degree of anonymity to users. Unlike traditional exchanges that require users to verify their identity, Bitcoin ATMs often allow users to purchase or sell Bitcoin without providing personal information. This can be particularly important for people who value privacy or who are concerned about their financial transactions being monitored.
  3. Decentralization: Bitcoin ATMs provide a decentralized alternative to traditional financial systems. Since conventional financial institutions do not operate them, Bitcoin ATMs can allow people to participate in the crypto economy outside the traditional banking system.
  4. Convenience: Bitcoin ATMs are typically available 24/7 and can be in convenient locations such as shopping malls or convenience stores. This can make buying or selling Bitcoin on their schedule easier without visiting a physical exchange during business hours.

Overall, Bitcoin ATMs can provide an alternative for people in the crypto world who may face difficulties accessing conventional financial services.

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Following the Trust Project guidelines, this feature article presents opinions and perspectives from industry experts or individuals. BeInCrypto is dedicated to transparent reporting, but the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of BeInCrypto or its staff. Readers should verify information independently and consult with a professional before making decisions based on this content. Please note that our Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy, and Disclaimers have been updated.

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Shubham Pandey
An engineer and an accountant by degree, Shubham ventured into the crypto world to pursue his passion. He believes digital currencies will redefine our economies in the decades to come, which drove his transition into this industry. Shubham has a multicultural background, having lived across India, Qatar, Oman and Australia. He is currently settled in Melbourne. As a News Writer, Shubham aims to actively analyze trends in the crypto world and break it down for everyday readers.
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