Atlanta-based Lux Vending is the latest to arrive, deploying 30 cryptocurrency ATMs across the Chicago area since the beginning of the year under the brand Bitcoin Depot, says Brandon Mintz, the company’s CEO. Bitcoin Depot already had a couple of machines in Chicago, but now has made the city its second-largest venue, with more of its 200 U.S. kiosks in Chicago than any other location except its headquarters hometown.
Retail customers who use digital currency to pay for goods, mainly online, visit the ATMs primarily to feed cash in and get digital codes they can use to make their purchases. Bitcoin Depot targeted Chicago because of its large size, dense population and history as a financial hub, Mintz says. “It’s a very, very niche customer base,” he says.
That’s the kind of market Mintz may need after what he calls a “dead year,” dragged down by the decline of the value of bitcoin. Still, he says the slowdown allowed his company to build up infrastructure and be ready for a next wave of demand. To spur interest in his new machines in Chicago, Bitcoin Depot has a promotion for a limited and unspecified time period offering to waive its typical 10 percent to 20 percent transaction fees at the machines.