Bitcoin ATMs to be Rolled Out by Walmart
Retail giant Walmart announces plans to roll out 200 Bitcoin ATMs across their United States stores.
Walmart plans to install Bitcoin ATMs across 200 of their stores allowing customers to exchange physical cash for bitcoin.
Working in partnership with ATM manufacturer Coinstar and crypto wallet Coinme, Walmart aim to speed crypto adoption and make it easier for the public to purchase bitcoin with physical cash, lowering the barrier to crypto entry.
Director of Communications at Walmart Molly Blakeman said: ‘Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, have launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin. There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.’
With 25,000 terminals already installed across the US, Bitcoin ATMs are nothing new, however many view Walmart’s involvement as an encouraging signal for widespread crypto adoption, especially for those in the lower income bracket.
Coinme describe themselves as a bitcoin wallet provider making it ‘easy to purchase bitcoin at participating Coinstar and Moneygram locations’.
Users simply have to download the wallet app for iOS or Android, create an account and verify their identity before finding a physical location to purchase their bitcoin. The simple to use mobile application will appeal to those who are put off buying crypto through complicated centralised exchanges.
Coinstar is an established American owned ‘coin-cashing machine company’ which was founded in 1991 and taken over by Apollo Global Management in 2016. Its primary business model focuses on the conversion of loose change into paper currency, donations and gift cards via their coin-counter kiosks. Branching into cryptocurrency seems like the logical next step.
The purchase process has been designed to be accessible and simple.
Bitcoin buyers simply insert physical money into the coin-counter kiosk, state how much bitcoin they would like to buy and receive a voucher with a unique redemption code. Purchasers then redeem their bitcoin by logging in to their Coinme wallet and inputting the specified code.
The initial pilot is for 200 Bitcoin ATMs through Walmart’s biggest stores with plans for a further 8,000 to be rolled out if the pilot proves popular.
However, many people were quick to criticise the high fees involved with the ATMs. With 4% added as a ‘trade fee’ and a further 7% added as a ‘cash transaction fee’ many people labelled the ATMs a ‘rip off’.
Whether the Bitcoin ATMs prove to be a hit remains to be seen, however what the pilot clearly shows is that retail giants such as Walmart have a strong interest in providing crypto accessibility to all corners of society.
Author: Mark Harridge
Mark Harridge first came across Bitcoin and began to use its peer-to-peer payment network in mid to late-2011. He quickly understood that this technology would change the world. Mark is passionate about crypto adoption, from a macro economic and institutional perspective, and the numerous factors that fuel the relentless march towards individual self sovereignty and the decentralised society of the future.