A look at the booming market of Bitcoin ATMs
All new consumer technologies share a similar story arc: introduction, adoption, proliferation, attrition and consolidation. Eventually the best brands— or best-marketed — rise to the top; others are absorbed or fade into obscurity (remember Compaq?) At the moment, we're seeing the story play out for the Bitcoin ATM. Early market entrants — namely Lamassu and Robocoin — are encountering increased competition from a growing list of challengers. It remains to be seen which brands will become the Apple and Microsoft equivalents in the segment. We've put together a list of players to watch as the future of the Bitcoin ATM unfolds ...
BitAccess was founded last November in Ottawa, Ontario. The company's Bitcoin Automatic Teller Machine, (or BTM, as they call it) lets the user deposit cash and instantly receive a digital wallet containing Bitcoin digital currency. BTM users can also exchange Bitcoin for traditional currency.
The machine operator needs just three things, the company says: a location, a wired Internet connection, and a source for Bitcoins (an exchange, local supply or personal account). BTM features include:
- three models — basic one-way, basic two-way, and high capacity two-way;
- Bitcoin wallet can be generated at the machine; a linked QR code identifies the wallet in subsequent transactions;
- transfers enabled via Bitcoin address entry or QR code scan;
- BitAccess fees based on amount exchanged; additional operator fee set at owner's discretion;
- basic configurations start at $7,000; the machine can be customized to meet specific requirements for additional cost;
- no pre-order required.
Munich-based BitXatm touts its "unique POS function" as a key differentiator for its Sumo Pro Bitcoin ATM, and as of May, it was the only one of the major providers (i.e., BitAccess, Genesis, Lamassu and Robocoin) to offer the feature. The company's website offers a more detailed comparison with other manufacturers and also features a helpful yearly profit calculator. Other features include:
- back office tool that lets the deployer set parameters for:
- fees and commissions
- transaction history and limits
- profit tracking
- AML and KYC compliance;
- white label;
- transacts in any crypto-currency;
- two-way transactions;
- two-way remote activation;
- custom color coating;
- $5,306 unit price;
- leasing option available.
Prague-based General Bytes uses the Android operating platform to drive its Bitcoin ATM (or BATM for short) uses the abbreviated form "BATM" for its Bitcoin ATM. In addition to machines, the company provides server hosting for a monthly fee. This enables the deployer to receive automatic updates, including new features. Company founder Karel Kyovsky hopes to achieve a manufacturing rate of 500 machines per month, a Bloomberg report said. Features include:
- unidirectional (i.e., cash in only);
- supports Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin
- open API allows the operator to implement support for any coin;
- remote management and monitoring;
- remote software upgrade;
- AML- and KYC-enabled;
- pricing starts at $3,000 (quantity pricing available);
- 0.5 percent fee on inserted cash if deployer uses GB for server hosting.
Industry members who attended ATMIA US 2014 might remember seeing the Genesis 1 Bitcoin ATM from San Diego-based Genesis Coin, which was showcased in the Grant Victor Innovation Lounge. According to the company's Web site, the Genesis 1 platform "represents the pinnacle of ATM technology," and it is unquestionably one of the more sophisticated Bitcoin ATMs on the market, with the look and feel of a traditional ATM. Features include:
- fully two-way for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin;
- 2,200-note international bill acceptor;
- 1,700–6,800 note bank-grade cash dispensing system;
- optional fingerprint reader (can be combined with third-party AML/KYC platforms to ensure compliance in every jurisdiction);
- configurable to reflect brand identity;
- free software updates for life;
- high-speed barcode scanner;
- mag stripe/EMV card reader;
- thermal receipt printer;
- high-definition security camera;
- $14,500 per unit, delivered.
Israel-incorporated Lamassu is one of the early movers in the Bitcoin space. The company introduced its open-source software platform, Rakia, just this month. The new platform will give operators control over pricing, commissions, and background trading operations, and will integrate with other Bitcoin services or software. In May, the company introduced the Santo Tirso stand, an add-on module that enables cash-out functionality at the machine.
- fiat currency to Bitcoin in 15 seconds;
- supports leading exchanges, wallets and price feeds;
- QR code scanning;
- simple, intuitive user interface;
- Web-based backend;
- accepts notes from more than 200 countries;
- industrial 10-inch screen;
- internal steel vault securely bolted to wall, stand or countertop;
- compact desktop size;
- $6,500 per unit with quantity pricing available;
- $5,500 per unit for cash-dispensing stand;
- $1,800 per unit for non-dispensing stand.
Singapore-based Numoni was founded in 2012 as a micro-transaction processing company with a mission to develop self-service "automatic vending machines" that would let the un- and underbanked conduct transactions such as buying prepaid mobile phone airtime, paying off monthly loans and bills, and contributing to savings. In 2014, the company introduced the Nugen B2 Spirit, a one-way Bitcoin-enabled AVM with features that include:
- acceptance of 22 fiat currencies;
- customizable for additional virtual currencies;
- scans QR codes;
- uses customer mobile number for KYC;
- links to AML-intelligent backend;
- can be wall- or stand-mounted (stands in various designs);
- $4,500 per unit plus six-month processing contract; quantity pricing available.
Robocoin was a first-mover in two-way Bitcoin ATMs. The company is now positioning itself in for an expanding Bitcoin market as a bank-style "branch network" integrated with an online Bitcoin and a virtual wallet that allows users to make instant transactions — without the typical wait time for verification and approval.
- three-factor user authentication via phone, PIN and palm;
- bulk cash dispenser/validator/acceptor;
- high-speed thermal printer
- dedicated scanners for palm-vein, ID card, passport, and barcode;
- magnetic card reader;
- touch screen with privacy shield;
- WiFi-, Ethernet-, and 3G capable;
- option to purchase lifetime license or pay 1 percent per transaction;
- $15,000 per unit.
Singapore-based Tembusu Terminals Pvt. Ltd. is a joint venture between Estates General, a crypto-currency research and consultancy firm, and Red Steed Studios, a developer of software and hardware solutions. The company claims to be Singapore's first Bitcoin ATM-maker, presumably to set it apart from Numoni. Tembusu Bitcoin ATM features include:
- 19-inch HD touch screen;
- 80mm thermal printer;
- 600–1,200 capacity multicurrency cash acceptor;
- real-time btc price updates;
- automatic software updates;
- remote management;
- $6,599 per unit.
Suzanne Cluckey Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally. She is now the editor of ATMmarketplace.com and BlockChainTechNews.com www