Colombia is not among African countries with a high level of cryptocurrency adoption. However, according to current reports, it has the second-highest number of cryptocurrency ATMs in the Latam region.
Cryptocurrency analysts link the large number of cryptocurrency ATMs in Columbia to the higher percentage of money usage. With these ATMs all over the country, people will be interested in trying them. This gives hope for increased cryptocurrency adoption.
There are 50 cryptocurrency ATMs in Columbia today, which is a good sign for cryptocurrency adoption. However, the reason for the boom is not yet clear to many.
As already stated, Columbia has not shown massive interest in adopting cryptocurrency in the last few years. Their transactions with cryptocurrencies are under regulations that require these transactions to happen through the national banks.
While the government is friendly to crypto-assets, the partnership with the national banks is putting a strain on crypto transactions. Therefore, there was no expectation for the cryptocurrency ATM boom.
In addition to the high cash transactions in Columbia, some analysts link the ATM boom to its proximity to Venezuela. Venezuela is among the top three countries with the highest level of cryptocurrency adoption globally. With the ongoing commercial exchange between these countries, Columbia might have been influenced to use cryptocurrency ATMs as an alternative transaction method and hence the boom.
Positioning of Cryptocurrency ATMs in Columbia
There are 29 ATMs in Bogota, the capital city of Columbia, Six in Medellin, and three in Bucaramanga and Pereira. The remaining out of 50 are in other parts of the country.
According to these statistics, it is clear that these ATMs are majorly in the cities and not near the borders. This rules out the theory that the ATM boom results from a push effect due to the proximity and business with Venezuela.
According to The CEO of Buda, a Latam-based exchange, Alejandro Beltrán, the first theory that associates this ATM boom to the fact that Columbia is among the leading countries for cash usage in the Latam region holds more water.
Following the regulation on cryptocurrency transactions in the country, citizens find it hard to transact and manage funds. The ATMs have come in handy to help in fund transactions which have resulted in the boom.
Beltran believes that the increased usage of cryptocurrency ATMs will push for further growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies.
El Salvador Takes the Lead With CryptoATMs
Not so long ago, Columbia was leading with these ATMs. But El Salvador overtook them after adopting Bitcoin as a national currency alongside the U.S dollar.
El Salvador had been buying Bitcoin even before the Bitcoin law in the country took effect. Following a statement by the president in September 2021, the government had already bought 200 BTC. They were looking forward to buying more before the deadline.
By the time El Salvador declared BTC as a legal tender, their Bitcoin stash was at 550 coins. This influenced the increase in the number of cryptocurrency ATMs in the country.