Coinstar, the coin counting kiosk maker hosting 3,500 Coinme bitcoin ATMs, is looking to double its cash-for-bitcoin capable supermarket machines.
The doubling would happen "within a year," Vice President of Product Michael Jack told CoinDesk. He said Coinme bitcoin ATM growth "both on a per location and overall basis, has been very strong."
The company already has plans to plug Coinme's exchange API into more kiosks, though Jack did not specify how soon this would happen. Coinstar has a global fleet of nearly 20,000 kiosks, according to its website.
The deliberations come as Coinme lays claim to a veritable accomplishment of the COVID-19 era: It's bringing in new customers, even while other businesses flounder. Coinme CEO Neil Bergquist told CoinDesk that 40% of transactions since late February are by first-timers.
One reason for the surge may be the placement of Coinme bitcoin ATMs almost exclusively in supermarkets and pharmacies, just about the only brick-and-mortar establishments that remained open to consumer foot traffic through COVID-19 lockdowns.
That twist of fate let Coinme "provide uninterrupted access" to customers, Bergquist said.
As panicking shoppers flocked to grocery stores in mid-March on lockdown supply runs, some were apparently also bulking up on crypto: Bitcoin transaction volume at Coinme kiosks is up 40% since late February.
Coinme also saw a “slight uptick” in $1,200 transactions – the same dollar amount as coronavirus stimulus checks sent to Americans by the Treasury Dept. – “although we're not seeing a strong correlation,” Bergquist said.
“The recent increase in sales certainly helped remove any concerns around company performance and durability during the pandemic,” Bergquist said.