Bitcoin ATM Count Hits Lowest Mark Since 2021 Globally
New data provided by AltIndex paints a disconcerting image of the global bitcoin ATM landscape, as the number of these machines has hit a two-year low. What makes this decline particularly striking is that it follows a period of expansion, signifying a significant shift in the market. Since the close of the previous year, the count of bitcoin ATMs has experienced a significant drop of 7,000 machines, equating to a notable 17% reduction, reducing the total count to 32,500. This represents a substantial decrease from the 34,500 machines that were operational at the end of 2021.
The United States, renowned for hosting the largest network of bitcoin ATMs worldwide, has borne the brunt of this decrease, with the most pronounced reduction in numbers. Presently, the U.S. maintains approximately 26,700 bitcoin ATMs. Nonetheless, it still holds a substantial advantage over Europe, where only around 1,500 of these machines are currently in operation.
AltIndex attributes this downward trend to concerns related to the potential misuse of bitcoin ATMs for illicit activities. Unscrupulous individuals have been known to exploit these machines to facilitate fraudulent transactions. They may use these platforms to advertise goods for sale on prominent online marketplaces like eBay, instructing purchasers to transfer funds into specific bitcoin wallets via ATMs. Subsequently, these malefactors disappear, leaving unsuspecting victims in their wake.
Brandon Mintz, the CEO and founder of Bitcoin Depot (BTM), a publicly traded bitcoin ATM operator, has offered insights into the prevailing situation. He suggests that the decline can be chiefly attributed to operators' strategic decisions to deactivate unprofitable bitcoin ATMs or, in some instances, exit the business altogether. Despite the overarching reduction in the number of bitcoin ATMs, Mintz views this as an opportunity. His company is poised to capitalize on the moment, with plans to expand its market share and bolster its presence in the industry. This will be achieved through strategic acquisitions and the organic growth of bitcoin ATM kiosks in additional retail locations.
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