The price of bitcoin has continued its December climb this week. Bitcoin is at its highest value since early Feb. 2014. After a drop into the mid-760s on Sunday (Dec. 11), bitcoin rose to a weekly peak of $788.49 on Tuesday afternoon. The remainder of the week was spent lolling about in the mid to upper 770s. The current value of bitcoin at the time of writing was $777.14.
For this week’s Bitcoin Tracker, we’re taking a look at Coinsource, the largest network of bitcoin ATMs in the United States. Founded in Feb. 2015, Coinsource debuted its first kiosk in the miracle mile shops in Las Vegas at a restaurant called Ketchup. While the first and a few additional machines in Las Vegas were successful, it was the New York market that gave Coinsource the jumpstart it needed to reach its current size.
“We opened our machine in the Whitehall Staten Island Ferry terminal, and it ended up being a whale,” said Bobby Sharp, cofounder and CMO of Coinsource. “It was a really, really good machine for us. That one machine spurred the growth of Coinsource. Now, we’re doing well north of 15,000 transactions a month. It varies from state to state, but on average, it’s anywhere between $80 and $120 per transaction. We have 73 machines in 17 markets in eight states, and we’re going to continue to grow with demand.”
Most recently, that demand has taken Coinsource back to its home state of Texas, where it added 11 additional ATMs in Q4, bringing the total to 14. Texas is now Coinsource’s fastest-growing market.
“The bigger cities here in Texas are acting as a hub for rapid bitcoin adoption. We’re getting calls and emails from people in larger suburbs who want us to put machines out there so they don’t have to drive to Dallas or Fort Worth or Houston. Fourteen is just the beginning. There’s a possibility that we could more than double our machines in Texas in 2017.”
On the radar for 2017 are new Coinsource ATMs in Maryland, Massachusetts, D.C. and Minneapolis. “By the end of 2017, I think we could potentially be in 15–20 states. Possibly even a couple of other continents by 2018. We definitely have some company goals to explore outside the United States,” said Sharp.
In addition to expanding into new markets, Coinsource has made it a goal to augment the functionality of its current and new machines in the coming year. “One of our goals for next year is to increase our functionality at our individual kiosks by adding more financial services and platforms,” said Sharp. “It’s great when people are able to buy bitcoin, but when it fluctuates, people want to sell and see the gains. Our goal is to start adding more two-way machines nationwide. We already have quite a few, but they’re going to become more standard for us.”
“It’s really exciting to be a part of this industry,” Sharp said. “The total market cap of all outstanding bitcoin right now is over $12.5 billion. In Jan. 2016, it was at $6.5 billion, and in Jan. 2015, it was at $3.5 billion — that graph is pretty sexy. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when that market cap doubles again next year.”
For the future of bitcoin, Sharp is in agreement with many that we’ve only just begun to see what digital currency has to offer the world. “It’s fascinating when you see how some countries, like Switzerland, are exploring and accepting bitcoin. And India could be a cryptocurrency monster. People are starting to learn about it and diversify, which is especially great for the underbanked and the unbanked. They’re learning about financing and interest rates and ways to store and manage their money outside of keeping cash. We haven’t even scraped the surface of worldwide penetration.”