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Bitcoin ATMs surge 70% as it gains mainstream backers

A Bitcoin ATM is a kiosk that allows a person to purchase bitcoin by using cash or debit card. Photo: Getty Images
A Bitcoin ATM is a kiosk that allows a person to purchase bitcoin by using cash or debit card. Photo: Getty Images (Joaquin Corbalan via Getty Images)

The number of bitcoin (BTC-USD) ATMs around the world increased by 70% in the last six months, hitting 16,500 in March, a new report revealed.

A bitcoin ATM is a kiosk that allows a person to purchase bitcoin by using cash or debit card. Some offer both the purchase of bitcoin as well as the sale of bitcoin for cash.

According to Trading Platforms, these ATMs serve as a quick and convenient way to transfer physical cash into bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

READ MORE: Bitcoin retreats from record high amid report of Indian crypto ban

It said countries like the US, Canada, and the UK hold the biggest number of BTMs but they are also becoming popular in countries "with volatile financial markets whose citizens require a quick exchange of an official currency for a digital asset not regulated by the government."

Chart: Trading Platforms
Chart: Trading Platforms

The US represents the leading crypto ATM market, with 84% of all bitcoin ATMs globally. Coin ATM Radar data revealed the number of BTMs operating in the US surged by 85% in the last six months.

In September 2020, there were 7,567 crypto ATMs all around the country. This figure jumped to almost 14,000 in March.

Chart: Trading Platforms
Chart: Trading Platforms

As the second-largest BTM market globally, Canada also witnessed "impressive growth" in the number of BTMs, with the figure jumping from 866 in September to 1,275 in March.

The UK is the only one among the top three markets where the number has gone down. The number of crypto ATMs plunged by 25% in the last six months, landing at 195 in March.

Austria, Spain, and Poland follow, with 154, 121, and 107 BTMs, respectively.

Watch: What is bitcoin?

Statistics also show Genesis Coin tops the list of largest bitcoin ATM manufacturers, with a 38% market share and 6,346 BTMs operating worldwide as of March.

General Bytes ranked as the second-largest manufacturer in the world with a 27% market share and 4,512 BTMs. BitAccess and Coinsource follow with 1,578 and 1,214 crypto ATMs, respectively.

On Tuesday morning, Bitcoin was trading nearly flat, at $55,786 (£40,280).

Earlier on Monday morning it was in retreat, after hitting a new record high over the weekend.

The price decline came amid reports that India could ban cryptocurrencies altogether, potentially cutting off one of the biggest markets in the world.

While the cryptocurrencies were under pressure on Monday morning, the market is still far higher than it was six months ago. Bitcoin has rallied over 400% amid a surge of interest from institutional players like Square (SQ) and Tesla (TSLA). The surge has helped spark a broader rally for the market.

Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?