Bitcoin ATMs: What They Are, How Do They Work and Where to Find Them

Woman in front of ATM for crypto currency.

There are over 42,266 bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) in the US alone. The reason there are so many BTMs is because of the growing popularity of cryptocurrency across the globe. The need to make Bitcoin more accessible to users necessitated the technology.

Let’s look at the BTM technology and how it works.

What are Bitcoin ATMs?

Many people are familiar with online exchanges like Binance and the rest. Bitcoin ATMs work the same way, except they are physical. On October 29, 2013, the Waves Coffee Shop in Vancouver, Canada, opened the first location for the world’s first Bitcoin ATM. The machine includes a computer that monitors transactions and interacts with the customer. It also has a scanner for OR codes and a cash dispenser. A cash dispenser isn’t available in most BTMs are most of them are used to buy Bitcoin.

Whether you are buying or selling Bitcoin, the amount you get will depend on real-time Bitcoin exchange rates. It’s important to factor in a service charge of around 8.93% when buying or selling Bitcoin on a BTM. The percentage will vary depending on the machine, and it’s best to read the instructions before proceeding with your transaction.

How Do Bitcoin ATMs Work?

As already discussed, BTMs core purpose is to buy and sell Bitcoin in exchange for physical cash. Therefore, the buying and/or selling of Bitcoin using a BTM follows these two simple steps:

Step 1: Identity verification

As with any ATM, you have to prove you are who you say you are. This identification process differs depending on the machine. For example, a  Coin Cloud machine will require the user to prove their phone number. A verification code sent to the number must be inputted into the machine to confirm your identity. After a successful confirmation, you will be allowed to proceed with your transaction.

Step 2: Either Buy or Sell Bitcoin

If you want to buy Bitcoin, you have to put cash into the machine. The machine then generates a QR code which you have to scan with your mobile phone. Your cryptocurrency wallet will then reflect the Bitcoin purchase.

However, if you want to sell Bitcoin, the machine generates a QR code. Using your mobile phone, you will scan the code and transfer your Bitcoin to the machine. How fast you can access your money will depend on the BTM machine you are using. Compared to online exchanges, BTM verification times are faster.

Where To Find a Bitcoin ATM

You can check the closest BTM to your location around the world on CoinATMRadar’s comprehensive list. There are Coinflip’s ATMs across the US that regularly have discounts with promo codes. The Bitcoin ATM Map will give you access to all Altcoin ATMs in your location.

Bottom Line

BTMs are very convenient if you want to perform any Bitcoin transaction because they can instantly verify transactions. Most ATMs don’t require you to share your personal information, hence very safe for use. Finally, they offer technical support if you have a problem navigating the interface.