2021 saw Bitcoin ATM installations double in number worldwide by the end of the year. Estimates in 2020 topped out at 13,000 ATMs, and there is no sign that 2022 will see any leveling off. The new total is now 34,000 ATMs worldwide. But the distribution is skewed toward North America. The US holds over 80%, and Canada trails with 7%. There is no primary operator of cryptocurrency ATMs at this point. In fact, the trend is likely to accelerate or double again – Bitcoin looks like it is here to stay.
What is this cryptocurrency and Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency that only exists electronically. Transactions are recorded publicly as blockchain in a peer-to-peer format – a form of a ledger. Unlike other forms of money, these digital currencies have no centralized control or oversite. Cryptocurrencies, or “crypto,” number in the thousands. There is no doubt that these digital currencies are popular, and more and more people in industry and on Wall Street are buying in. With thousands of cryptocracies, it is essential to make wise decisions.
Bitcoin was created and unleashed in 2009 by a person, or persons, unknown using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. To this date, Nakamoto has not been found or seen. Nevertheless, Bitcoin is arguably the most successful of all the cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin mining is the backbone of the decentralized system. Individual miners work worldwide using computers and peripherals to solve mathematical problems related to the blockchain. This process verifies transactions, and once confirmed, the miner is rewarded. This continual process reverifies and adds blocks to the chain updating the records of all transactions in a network of nodes worldwide.
Often called proof of work, mining cryptocurrency is easy for the miner, but it is very hard on the hardware. The average home computer is overwhelmed as it “guesses” solutions and runs endlessly. As one would imagine, costs for electricity are often prohibitive, and expensive peripherals to run the mathematics are needed. The heating of the machines requires sturdy cooling systems.
Bitcoin Goes Mainstream
Before Bitcoin, there were the concepts of eCash, Hash Cash, B-Money and Bit Gold. All were similar, to various extents, setting the stage for Bitcoin in 2008. That year, Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym) posted about a peer-to-peer electronic cash system detailing how to work with Bitcoin. The post used a cryptographer’s mailing list, and the first 50 bitcoins were mined and electronically minted by the sketchy Nakamoto. Then, in 2009, the first Bitcoin transaction took place. Nakamoto is believed to have mined one million Bitcoins before disappearing.
Fast forward to 2022; Now, Bitcoin transactions are at the fingertips. The revolutionary concept of cryptocurrency has taken to the mainstream with ATMs.
Why a Bitcoin ATM?
Bitcoin dominates cryptocurrencies in appearance and reality. But there are also many runners-up and second tier e-currencies. After that, many third, fourth and fifth tier players are looking up at the leading stars. It was inevitable that crypto ATMs would come out, and more-and-more legitimate companies are getting on board. In recent years, Wall Street has been getting in on the act – to the tune of 670 billion.
ATMs were a banking step forward in the late 1980s, and now with Bitcoin ATMs, the same holds true in 2022. For any currency to succeed, it must be accessible. In a short decade, Bitcoin has gone from a pipe dream to become a recognized form of money – because it is money.
Three hundred years ago, in the western world there were those who had doubts about “paper money” and believed it would never work – they were wrong.
Like the early ATMs, people take time to adjust to a new reality. For money to be money, it must have the trust of consumers. Money is money because it is trusted and accepted for exchange and is valued. Bitcoin is meeting the mark – the trend is accelerating fast.
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