Will Bitcoin be the Mainstream in the ATM Industry?

The report from Electronic Funds Transfer Association and the ATM Industry Association provided a detailed review of the bitcoin industry and the future of the bitcoin ATM sector.

Toronto’s first Bitcoin ATM or a 'BTM' as locals refer to it, is located in downtown Toronto at King Street West and Spadina Avenue at Bitcoin Decentral. The machine accepts cash in exchange for a number of Bitcoins. Photo: Bitcoin Decentral/Flickr

Toronto’s first Bitcoin ATM or a 'BTM' as locals refer to it, is located in downtown Toronto at King Street West and Spadina Avenue at Bitcoin Decentral. The machine accepts cash in exchange for a number of Bitcoins. Photo: Bitcoin Decentral/Flickr

Only six months have passed after the launch of the first bitcoin ATM, but this segment of the bitcoin industry has increased significantly.

World producers compete to have an access to the best installation places in the largest cities and trade centers globally.

According to a new report, provided by the Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA) and the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), the competition between these organisations could rise in the near future.

The report included a detailed research on bitcoin. An overview of the technology and the bitcoin ATM sector was also provided.

The report stated: “Bitcoin and digital currency integration could become a profitable value-added service for [traditional] ATM operators, provided take-up of virtual currencies and digital cash continues to increase.”

ATMIA and EFTA suggested that ATM networks, including those controlled by financial institutions and non-FIs, could leverage their technical capabilities and financial resources to grow in this market.

Kurt Helwig, EFTA CEO, commented on the recent trends in the ATM sector: “ATMs today, they’re multi-functional, the whole thing is about an omnichannel user experience. They’re not just spitting out cash anymore, they’re providing an array of services in order to meet the consumer demand for convenience.”

Moreover, Helwig thinks the addition of these networks could increase an access to bitcoin. He also suggested that by integrating with ATM networks, bitcoin can benefit from the high level of trust ATMs have gained. At the same time, ATMs, controlled by financial institutions and third-party businesses, would gain an access to new consumers.

Still, it is early to tell whether FI or non-FI ATM providers would implement bitcoin integration first. Helwig considers both are looking into this as a potential channel, which will help to expand their businesses.

Bob Bucceri, EFTA senior consultant, said that the US is likely to lead the transition: “I’m comfortable with the regulatory structure in this country. We give the market a chance to shake it out and if it doesn’t, regulators step in. I think that’s why we’ve become a good incubator for a lot of financial technology.”

Helwig and Bucceri indicated that EFTA is working to determine its position on bitcoin and virtual currencies.

Bucceri added that regulation would provide safety and security to the marketplace. He said: “It goes back to this idea of safety and soundness, it’s a leap of faith when someone puts a card in an ATM. [But] that whittling out process with ATMs took place 10 years ago. You don’t have a lot of new coverage on the ATM, its a part of everyone’s life these days.”

However, it is still unknown what part ATM sector would play in the transition and if it would be successful for bitcoin.

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