If you read the crypto press, you will find story after story this week about how as many new Bitcoin ATMs have been disrupted this year, with one-sixth of the ATMs installed in April as in December.
The thing is, they didn’t. Or at least, these stories — which indicate fewer than 300 were installed last month compared to 1970 in December, and a steady decline in between — are based on data that only counts crypto-only ATMs, which does not accurately reflect the actual availability of crypto-ATMs. able in the United States.
If you look at the actual number of ATMs, kiosks, and service providers offering physical cryptocurrency transactions, you will find that it is growing rapidly.
On April 6, Coinme said its bitcoin cash-to-cash network, which it has partnered with MoneyGram and coin-counting kiosk operator Coinstar, has grown by 185% in the past 12 months and now has 21,000 locations — making 90% of the US population. United within five miles of a Coinme Bitcoin-powered ATM.
Users can buy up to $2,900 in bitcoin with cash, and the company now offers services in 49 states, where New York’s tougher crypto regulations still prevent growth.
In January, MoneyGram invested in Coinme, buying about 4% of the company, according to a statement. According to Coinme, there are approximately 7,400 MoneyGram sites with crypto-capable.
Read more: MoneyGram buys minority stake in Coinme
“Since the pandemic, we have seen an increase in demand for our services as Americans become aware of cryptocurrencies as a store of value and an efficient payment rail,” said Neil Bergquist, CEO and co-founder of Coinme, in a press release. “We have solved the problem of access through a cash-to-crypto network that is now larger than many of the largest bank ATM networks.”
However, according to Coin ATM Radar, whose numbers are the source for those stories, Coinme doesn’t have any – which is true, because they don’t use their own physical ATMs, which the statistic actually calculates.
Nor does it count Bitcoin Depot, which said it had 6,500 crypto ATMs in the US and Canada, including at Circle K supermarkets, at the start of the year.
“The crypto ATM industry continues to grow at a rapid pace with the market estimated to reach $3.55 billion by 2030,” said Brandon Mintz, President and CEO of Bitcoin Depot. “We are definitely seeing this usage and continued growth in our business with massive expansion throughout 2021.”
From a MoneyGram perspective, buying and selling bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a physical location, rather than the internet through a cryptocurrency exchange or payments app like PayPal and Venmo, is a growing industry.
“Our investment in Coinme further strengthens our partnership and complements our shared vision to expand access to digital assets and cryptocurrencies,” said Alex Holmes, Chairman and CEO of MoneyGram. “Our unique Cash-to-Bitcoin offering with Coinme, announced in May 2021, has opened our business to an entirely new customer segment, and we couldn’t be happier with our progress.”
And interest in crypto ATMs is not only growing in the US, where El Salvador has installed more than 200 coins as part of its adoption of bitcoin as legal tender, and in Mexico, bitcoin manufacturer ATM ChainBytes and operator Axolotl Bitcoin has installed a kiosk in its Senate building. country with the help of a crypto-friendly legislator.
However, all this does not change the shrinking number of new Bitcoin ATMs shown by Coin ATM Radar. The company said earlier this year that the growth of cryptocurrency ATMs has “practically slowed” in Europe following the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD).
The UK recently went in the same direction, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordering the closure of all crypto ATM operators in March. It came after a strict advertising campaign that ordered the removal of virtually any advertising for cryptocurrencies, including companies ranging from publicly traded exchanges like Coinbase to Papa John’s International.
See also: UK agency tells crypto ATM agents to pull plugs
And in the US, the General Accounting Office has called on the IRS and Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to require operators to keep law enforcement up to date at Bitcoin ATM locations.
Read more: Regulatory attention shifts to Bitcoin ATMs in its US stronghold
In addition, the newly formed crypto-compliance cooperative is calling for stricter standards, claiming that more than 10,000 crypto ATMs do not require anti-money laundering checks.