If a bitcoin ATM sounds like something of an oxymoron, let us explain.
These machines, which are popping up more and more across London in particular, work in the opposite way to a traditional cash machine.
BCB ATM is a London-based startup that holds the second largest share of this nascent marketplace, with 16% – that’s 7 machines in total, all in London.
The machine allows users to scan the QR code of a digital wallet into the machine, and then insert however much cash they wish to convert to Bitcoin.
Press send, and seconds later your account is topped up.
According to BCB ATM there are nearly 1,000 Bitcoin ATM machines in operation globally; 48 can be found in the UK, and 32 of these are in London.
In a recent interview with Inside Bitcoins BCB ATM’s Head of Operations, Landry Ntahe, revealed the biggest obstacle to widespread take-up of Bitcoin’s services was a “lack of awareness of Bitcoin in the elder generation, which makes them reluctant to place a ‘BTM’ in their establishment”.
“More needs to be done to educate others about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. That’s why we’re here to bring online currency to the high street”, he explained.
BCB ATM are currently a small team of just 5, and their machines are located in Romford, Lewisham, Chigwell, Stratford, Croydon, Dalston and Enfield.
The company charges 4% per transaction, 1.5% less than a typical Bitcoin ATM, they say. By offering cheaper rates the company hopes to help the flow of customer traffic and increase profitability for premises owners.
BCB ATMs offer free shipping and installation, signs, and receipt paper and processing, as well as free maintenance and technical support.
Shopkeepers and enterprises are advised to contact the firm directly to discuss installing a machine; there are currently no minimum quotas to hit in order to benefit from the service.
Clearly, BCB ATM believe the trend for switching cash to bitcoins is here to stay, and they are not alone in this – Amazon recently decided to let users “upload” real cash to their online accounts, in the hope of reaching out to a demographic known as the “unbanked” – those who deal almost exclusively in cash and may not have ever set up a formal bank account.
The Money Cloud View
Although the thought of visiting an ATM machine to deposit money is tough to get your head around at first, crypto-currencies are here to stay and with the entire financial services industry in flux, we wouldn’t be surprised if the number of these machines hit six figures globally before the end of the decade.