Yesterday, a video showing a long queue at a bitcoin ATM in El Salvador was posted on the popular Bitcoin Archive Twitter profile.
— Bitcoin Archive 🗄🚀🌔 (@BTC_Archive) September 21, 2021
No information is known about the source of the video, the place or the day it was shot.
Distribution of Bitcoin ATMs in El Salvador
The video appears to show several dozens of people queuing in front of one of the 200 bitcoin ATMs installed in the country.
Another video, also published yesterday by Paxful, shows another, much smaller queue at another bitcoin ATM in Chivo.
Currently, with its 200 ATMs installed in the country, El Salvador has the third largest crypto ATM network in the world after the United States and Canada, with 70% of all installations in Latin America.
According to CoinAtmRadar.com, there are fewer than 50 crypto ATMs across South America, while in Central America, thanks to El Salvador, there are more than 330, with a much smaller land area.
Despite this, either there are not enough, or they are not well distributed, as those that do exist are practically stormed by citizens.
Importance of remittances from abroad and the country’s GDP
According to CoinAtmRadar.com, 75 of the 20 ATMs are concentrated in or around the capital, whereas in various parts of the country there are fewer than 5, or none at all.
The queues are likely to form due to an uneven, albeit wide, distribution, as in some areas there may still be too few to fully meet demand.
Remittances from abroad account for more than 20% of the country’s entire GDP, according to 2020 figures, and have increased further during 2021.
We are talking about more than $600 million entering the country in this way on average every month, for a total projection of more than $7 billion in 2021. The total GDP in 2018 was less than 26 billion.
Many Salvadorans receive these remittances in BTC, as using Lightning Network in this way makes payments from abroad fast and above all very cheap. It is estimated that 30% of the total remittances sent from abroad to El Salvador in dollars were historically lost in costs and various commissions.
When receiving bitcoin, it is possible that many prefer to exchange them for dollars, as the US dollar is also legal tender in the country, and many use bitcoin ATMs to carry out the conversion. This would justify the long queues that are forming.