The Case for Cryptocurrency at Convenience Stores
Convenience stores and gas stations are staples of everyday American life. Approximately 93 percent of Americans live within 10 minutes of a gas station. And 80 percent of gas stations are also convenience stores, ranging from 7-Eleven chain stores to local “mom-and pop” stations.
Many of these store locations are prime spots for ATM machines, and therefore are ideal for Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs). These machines are structured similar to traditional cash-based ATMs. They are housed in kiosks with a pin pad and screen and placed in convenient, heavily trafficked locations. The fundamental difference is users can purchase bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies directly through the machine.
Fast & Secure Bitcoin Access
For a quick refresher, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are virtual currencies that are essentially computer files stored in a digital wallet. People can buy bitcoins through multiple methods, and send them to other people, and all these transactions are stored on a public record called the “blockchain.”
Bitcoin is attractive because it is decentralized (not controlled by a country’s banking system) and offers financial access to “underbanked” communities with limited access to traditional banking.
Bitcoin ATMs provide users with a fast, simple and secure way to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The same firms managing traditional ATM security also handle BTMs. Since BTMs only process virtual currency, there are no worries about physical theft of the machine.
A Massive Potential Network
According to industry tracker Coin ATM Radar, there are more than 7,500 BTMs worldwide (as of April 2020), representing a year-over-year increase of 70 percent. That’s impressive growth, but it’s still early stage considering the more than 150,000 convenience store locations in the U.S. alone, along with approximately 40,000 grocery stores. The sheer number of locations and the attractive benefits of BTMs make the machines a high-value play for c-store and gas station owners.
Revenue Generation & Other Benefits
Despite the impressive growth in BTMs throughout the U.S., there’s still massive opportunity for expansion. Convenience store and/or gas station owners can set themselves apart from other area locations by installing BTMs.
Bitcoin ATMs are readily available for convenience store and gas station owners. They take up a minimal footprint inside a store and offer the owner solid monthly returns. The rental fees for Bitcoin ATMs are often tied to the monthly transaction amounts going through the machine, with many owners seeing a significant amount coming back from transactions.
The addition of a Bitcoin ATM also attracts paying customers. After the Bitcoin ATM user finishes their transaction, they still need gas in their cars, Gatorade after their workouts, or a bag of chips.
Additional benefits include:
- Visibility on various ATM map sites showcasing the location of BTMs;
- Users can create an account and buy cryptocurrencies in a minute or less;
- Some BTMs offer alternative coins such as Ethereum and Litecoin;
- Fast transaction speed through the BTM’s network; and
- Users can convert bitcoin into fiat currency (dollars).
Installing a BTM is best done through a third-party provider. These companies feature customer support and have considerable experience selecting ideal BTM locations.
Gas stations and convenience stores are ubiquitous, familiar and easy to navigate. They provide customers with repeatable and necessary functions. Adding a revenue-generating BTM to these stores gives owners a way to expand their business models while introducing a broader range of people to the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies.
Brandon Mintz is CEO of Bitcoin Depot. He founded his first company – Cash to Crypto – when bitcoin was still in its infancy, allowing anyone in the U.S. to purchase cryptocurrency in minutes with no confusing instructions or excessive wait times. Over time, it became one of the first professional OTC crypto trading companies in the world. After seeing a need for crypto to have a physical presence, Mintz founded Bitcoin Depot, which currently has more than 500 ATMs worldwide.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.