Every now and then, an interesting topic regarding the adoption rate of Bitcoin is posted on Reddit. One user was wondering whether or not installing a Bitcoin ATM at his shop would increase the foot traffic. Due to the low adoption rate of the digital currency, this may not be the best idea, even when you are not necessarily looking to make a profit.
Bitcoin ATMs Aren’t That Appealing, However….
For people actively involved in the world of Bitcoin and digital currency, Bitcoin ATMs make a lot of sense. These machines provide everyday consumers with a convenient way to buy – and sometimes sell – Bitcoin in exchange for fiat currency by visiting a specific location. But what about those people who are just curious, and not planning to buy or sell anything?
This is one of the major disadvantages when it comes to the look and feel of most Bitcoin ATMs: they look too much like a regular bank ATM. From a convenience point of view, this makes sense, but only if the consumer is actively interested in buying or selling Bitcoin. To anyone else, it’s not even worth a second glance.
One could make the argument there are very little Bitcoin ATMs in existence right now, and that it takes more devices for the trend to catch on. There is a certain merit to that statement, but one must not forget Bitcoin holds very little value or usability for the average person on the street right now.
Until widespread Bitcoin usage in its pure form – and not through solutions like debit cards – is possible, there is no incentive for consumers to go out and get involved in Bitcoin. Those who are looking for alternative financial solutions will take an interest in Bitcoin, butt hey only represent a tiny fraction of the world population.
But there are some upsides to installing a Bitcoin ATM in a store as well. From a publicity standpoint, it could attract some local news coverage. At the same time, a small article in a newspaper on page 32 will not drive people to a certain store en masse, just because it has a Bitcoin ATM installed. There will be some questions and interest in the beginning, but that will fade away after a month or two.
Then again, if that particular business is aiming to attract younger people as customers, it might make more sense to install a Bitcoin ATM. Millennials are a key demographic for Bitcoin adoption right now, and bringing a convenient option to buy digital currency at a store they visit could go a long way.
Don’t Underestimate Operation Costs and Regulation
Ultimately, running a Bitcoin ATM comes down to two main factors: the total cost package – including operational expenses – and regulatory requirements. Operating a Bitcoin ATM in the United States is subject to different regulatory requirements compared to Belgium, or Latin America, or Asia.
If the costs make sense, and the regulatory requirements are not impacting the potential business in a negative way, it could be worth the investment. A Bitcoin ATM might not bring in foot traffic all of a sudden – unless it looks like something from a different universe – but media coverage could help put one’s business on the map for sure.
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