How Bitcoin ATMs Help the Unbanked

Coin Cloud
4 min readJun 23, 2021


Simple Machine Makes Smart Social Impact

You might take banks for granted, and just assume they’re part of life for everyone. But they’re not.

Did you know that over 7 million US households are completely unbanked, meaning they don’t have a bank account for the family at all? And close to 20 million are underbanked, as of 2019, which means they might have one bank account or one service like a payday loan, but not full access to traditional financial services.

These people rely on cash for day-to-day transactions, and generally can’t participate in the digital economy … until now.

Digital Onramp Dilemma

The dilemma faced by people without bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards is how do you buy something online? How do you do curbside pickup at stores? How do you watch Netflix or Hulu? Reserve a rental car? You can’t do these things with cash.

Even paying household bills is a big pain if you can’t send a check, let alone pay with plastic. You would have to go to each local office (gas, electric, water, sewage, garbage, phone, internet, etc.) with your cash to pay each one. Maybe, if you’re lucky, your landlord includes some of it in your rent.

But otherwise, living exclusively off cash transactions takes a lot of time and energy. You need an onramp to the digital economy.

Well … what about changing your fiat cash to digital currency (and vice versa)? It can be done surprisingly quickly and easily if you use the right tools.

Bitcoin ATMs: Cash to Digital

Bitcoin ATMs provide one way for the unbanked or underbanked to buy digital currency with cash and keep it in a secure wallet on their mobile phone. They can then spend the funds online, in a growing number of stores, and buy bitcoin-friendly gift cards.

Online exchanges don’t let you do this. Peer-to-peer trading does, but it’s not very safe, and definitely not sustainable. Do you really want to meet some random stranger in a coffee shop or alley every single time you want to buy or sell your bitcoin?

Digital Currency Machines: Cash to Digital and Back to Cash

Full-fledged Digital Currency Machines (DCMs), like Coin Cloud’s, go beyond your average Bitcoin ATM. They have everything a Bitcoin ATM does, plus offer the ability to cash out at every machine nationwide, which is vital for accessing money when you need it. And they offer a choice of over 30 digital currencies besides bitcoin.

Beyond the Unbanked

There are also people who don’t trust banks and choose not to put their funds there. Let’s call them anti-bank. They would rather keep their money under a mattress … but of course, that’s not very safe, and not really practical for day-to-day use. DCMs fill a gap for these people as well, offering a way to control their own money, on their own terms, without interference from any government or centralized organization.

Meeting the Need

The number of Bitcoin ATMs in the USA has almost tripled in 2020 alone, starting the year at 4,200 and finishing at almost 11,000. That’s astounding, considering the fact that the industry took six years to get to the first 4,000.

Less than 20% of those machines are two-way DCMs, and Coin Cloud makes up over 60% of THAT number — plus offers the highest selection of digital currencies to choose from and a companion mobile wallet app to make everything smoother, faster and easier.

If you’re wondering why this incredible growth has occurred, it’s because of increasing demand. The unbanked, underbanked and anti-banked have spoken, they want choices, and those choices include DCMs. (But even if you have a bank account, you’re not excluded … Coin Cloud’s mission is to bring digital currency to all.)

You don’t need to be tech-savvy to use our machines. And live customer support is available 7 days a week. Find your nearest Coin Cloud machine here.

What is Coin Cloud?
Founded in 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Coin Cloud is the leading digital currency machine (DCM) company globally. With over 2,000 locations nationwide, in 47 states and Brazil, Coin Cloud operates the world’s largest and fastest-growing network of 100% two-way DCMs, a more advanced version of the Bitcoin ATM. Every Coin Cloud DCM empowers you to quickly and easily buy and sell 30+ virtual currency options with cash. You can
find your nearest Coin Cloud DCM here.



Coin Cloud

The world’s leading operator of two-way Digital Currency Machines (DCMs), more advanced Bitcoin ATMs.