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What’s the point in a Bitcoin ATM?

Seriously, does anyone actually use them?

Bitcoin ATMs have been around for quite a few years now. People always celebrate seeing a Bitcoin ATM in random locations throughout the world by posting pictures on social media. I still don’t quite understand the point of them though, at all.

Perhaps you don’t use the internet but you want to purchase Bitcoin. In this case, an ATM might make sense. But then if you don’t use the internet or are not technologically minded, why would you purchase Bitcoin in the first place? After asking this question on Twitter, the responses still haven’t convinced me that they are a valuable asset within the space.

The main advantages of Bitcoin ATMs appear to be the ease of use and the fact that no KYC is necessary. They can also be useful for those who are still not too technologically minded looking for a simple way to purchase a cryptocurrency. One of the main disadvantages is that the fees are quite steep, even more so than say Coinbase. A quick search on Google showed that the closest one to me has fees of 10%. Another example suggested that using a Bitcoin ATM resulted in a 17% markup.

The issue with the ease of use that is promoted with Bitcoin ATMs is that it can mean people can impulsively buy a wide variety of cryptocurrencies without research. This could lead to the lose of their money and a bad view on the whole cryptocurrency space.

Another issue I have with these ATMs is that they are often used by terrible coins to market themselves. Bitconnect was a clear example of this. By attaching the ATM, they were attempting to show the legitimacy of the scam. I have seen various other coins use ATMs in such a fashion – Bitconnect was not alone.

One bad actor doesn’t necessarily mean that all Bitcoin ATMs throughout the world are there merely to rip people off. Without doubt there are many, though. This all means that in my opinion, these ATMs are a pointless addition to cryptocurrencies. The fees are too high and they are a mere gimmick on the whole.

If you have different opinions, please feel free to let me know on Twitter, @RossCoinRivet.

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