It seems like cryptocurrency and bitcoin ATMs are all the rage.
Bitcoin ATMs Are Expanding Quickly
Bear in mind that people aren’t necessarily at a point where they’re replacing fiat with cryptocurrency altogether, but bitcoin ATMs are serving a huge purpose for those in countries that lack financial infrastructure. In Latin America, for example, where these products seem to garner most of their business, countries such as Venezuela have been bogged down by socialism for years, leaving many people in the dust.
In addition, several citizens within these nations remain unbanked and do not possess access to acceptable forms of credit or similar banking products, i.e. checking or savings accounts. Thus, crypto serves a grand purpose for people like this in that they don’t necessarily need stellar financial backgrounds to get their hands on a few digital coins here and there.
Plus, many of these countries are dealing with inflation. The bolivar, Venezuela’s national form of fiat, has fallen flat on its face in recent years, and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ethereum and Dash can open many doors for citizens.
According to Brandon Mintz, CEO of Bitcoin Depot – one of the largest providers of crypto-based ATMs in the world – the problems of the unbanked extend to residents of the U.S., which for the most part, is a largely developed region. Nearly ten percent of American citizens are unbanked or underbanked and must rely on alternative means to get the money they need.
In certain cases, peer-to-peer platforms do the trick, but bitcoin ATMs also have hidden advantages, and more machines are popping up all over the rural U.S. He states:
The physical bitcoin ATMs provide a vital connection between underbanked communities and the crypto world. We’re seeing our user numbers rising day by day, usually by those who don’t – for one reason or another – trust traditional banking systems, or who complain fees for transferring money internationally are much too high.
One big thing we’re seeing as of late are remittance workers from places like Mexico working across the border and sending money home to their families. It’s arguably easier to do this with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, whereas large banking institutions can charge high fees and may require as many as a few days to initiate transfers. Not to mention currency exchanges can reach a whole new level of difficult.
With crypto, however, the process is considerably easier given that the transaction only involves one type of currency. Money can also be moved quickly, sometimes within the span of a few minutes depending on the asset involved (i.e. EOS, Ethereum, etc.)
Making Crypto Available to All?
Mintz has some big plans for his company, explaining:
Our plan is to increase our network to 1,000 ATMs by the end of 2020 to… [make] cryptocurrency accessible to everyone.