It seems that the American multinational retail corporation – Walmart – now allows its customers to buy Bitcoin using special Bitcoin ATMs installed in some of its US stores. The initiative became possible following the collaboration between Coinstar, the retail giant, and Coinme.
What is the first step?
Last month, the name Walmart was involved in a story. The company entered into a partnership with Litecoin (LTC) to allow its customers to make payments using cryptocurrency. While rumors have sparked immense enthusiasm across the digital asset sector, they have proven false, and the market (especially Litecoin) has moved straight to new lows.
However, a more credible report from Bloomberg shows that the company has joined forces with Coinstar – known for its ATMs that can exchange cryptos for cash. As a result, the latter has supplied 200 Bitcoin ATMs to US Walmart stores, while the broader plan is to bring that number to 8,000 shortly.
Sam Doctor – Chief Strategy Officer at the BitOoda Crypto Brokerage – said the installation of Bitcoin ATMs in supermarkets is growing in the United States. However, he noted that Walmart is different from its rivals because its huge name can reach a considerable percentage:
“Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot,” he said.
Customers wishing to use the new service must enter a physical banknote into the Coinstar device and will receive a paper voucher. You must also create a Coinme account and complete a background check, after which they can redeem the code received from Coinstar. There are, however, some fees, as ATMs charge 4% for the Bitcoin option, plus an additional 7% cash exchange fee.
Although this is an expensive way to purchase the leading cryptocurrency, it reduces entry barriers for first-time buyers, concluded Doctor.
The Bitcoin ATMs don’t only offer Bitcoin
While Bitcoin is the primary digital asset and probably the most famous, there are other cryptocurrencies that US residents can buy from some of the ATMs.
CoinFlip decided to list the very popular Dogecoin (DOGE) on 1, 800 cryptocurrency ATMs in 46 states earlier this year. Daniel Polotsky – CEO and co-founder of the company – said that this move would allow the general population a more straightforward way to receive exposure to the meme currency. There were many petitions and many users from the Doge community asking for this, and they were heard.
Taking a closer look at the global number of crypto ATMs, the US is, without any doubt whatsoever, the undisputed leader. According to the latest data, the most significant economic power has 17,436 crypto ATMs at the moment, which means one for every 19,023 American citizens. Canada takes second place, with only 1,400 fewer ATMs than their neighbor country. It’s most likely that we will continue seeing pieces of news like this one in the short term future, and many countries will start to add crypto ATMs as a means of payment in various stores, making it very easy for people who aren’t involved in the crypto world yet to take their first steps towards this direction.