It’s no surprise that more banking-related industries take such a critical, or even hostile stance towards bitcoin. By its very nature, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cut banks completely out of the loop and undermine their entire business model. From the banking world’s perspective, bitcoin is a completely disruptive innovation. From the perspective of the ATM industry, however, bitcoin adoption couldn’t be a more exciting trend.
The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) recently released “An Introduction to BitCoin ATMs,” an in-depth report by ATM consulting group Tremont Capital Group. According to ATMIA’s CEO Mike Lee, the paper will enable ATM manufacturers “to draw some logical conclusions about how BitCoin will affect payments and regulations in future.”
The ATMIA’s tone seems, if not enthusiastic, at least cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a boom in bitcoin-accepting ATMs.
While many consider it a fringe currency. BitCoin – or another similar digital currency with extraordinarily low transaction costs that may emerge in the future – could have a significant impact on the global payments industry. If Bitcoin gains traction to become a more widely accepted alternative currency, Bitcoin ATMs could become one of the most convenient distribution channels available to consumers for exchanging Bitcoin from and into cash.”
While banks have reasons to be skeptical of bitcoin, ATMs have every reason to embrace them. Thanks to growing use of debit cards and a wealth of online payment options, the industry has been in a slow decline for the past decade. Many ATM manufacturers and distributors already have the needed state licenses to work with currency, operating independent ATMs rather than simply leasing them to banks, and could start working with virtual currency almost immediately. It’s no exaggeration to say that bitcoin ATM adoption could be the savior of the industry.
The report itself is available for free to ATMIA members, but non-members must pay a whopping $145 to download it. Tellingly, the option to buy via bitcoin was not available.