Bitcoin has taken the world by storm, and Walmart certainly doesn’t want to be left behind. Walmart is partnering with Coinstar, a coin-cashing machine company, and Coinme, a crypto-cash exchange, to bring Bitcoin ATMs to around 200 locations across the US.
“JUST IN: Walmart Has Been Quietly Adding #Bitcoin ATMs in stores around the United States. Source: @CoinDesk” tweeted on October 21, 2021.
Walmart has reportedly rolled out the installation of 200 ATMs as a trial. It eventually plans on installing a total of 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the country if the pilot program goes according to plan.
Walmart’s communications director, Molly Blakeman, shared that the ATMs help Walmart customers purchase Bitcoin through cash. He said before adding that the
“200 Coistar kiosks (are) located inside Walmart stores.”
There are currently over 25,000 Bitcoin ATMs located at gas stations and supermarkets in the country. Coinstar, which has been a big help in launching Walmart’s pilot program, operates 4,400 BTC kiosks across 33 states.
All About Bitcoin ATMs
For a Walmart shopper to be able to use the ATM, (s)he needs to have a Coinme wallet. Those without one can easily set one up at the ATM. How? By inserting paper money and using the returned redemption code to set up a Coinme account. When setting up an account, the customer will need to complete a background check.
It’s important to note that the Bitcoin ATMs are cash only. Customers can insert up to $2,500 into the machine. However, these ATMs will not allow the withdrawal of Bitcoin from any account.
According to the Coinstar website, it costs 4% to exchange Bitcoin and an additional 7% to convert eCurrency to cash. With the exchange rate currently being over $60,000, customers can only acquire BTC in fractions.
Coin ATM Data reports that Bitcoin ATMs surfaced in the US around seven years ago. The chief strategy officer and head of research at crypto brokerage, Sam Doctor, shared his thoughts on Walmart setting up the Bitcoin ATMs. While talking to Bloomberg, he shared that although Bitcoin ATMs have been around a long time, the initiative by Walmart “gives it further legitimacy among skeptics.”
Below are some of the reactions people had to the news of Walmart setting up BTC ATMs.
@BaezTruckingLLC tweeted, “So last night I had a dream that @Walmart was installing the cryptocurrency ATM in their store. Im not sure if this is true but it will be dope if they did & also accept crypto as a new way of payments. @ShytoshiKusama“
Some people, however, felt the exchange fees by Walmart were too high. As a point of comparison, Coinbase and Binance, which are popular crypto trading platforms, respectively charge 3.99% and 3-4.5% for credit and debit card purchases.
Reddit user u/Axatar in the subreddit r/CryptoCurrency commented, “It’s a ripoff, but at least it’s a sign of adoption – they think some people might want BTC enough to pay huge fees.”
More on Walmart
The setting up of BTC ATMs isn’t Walmart’s first rodeo with crypto. The multinational retail store has a platform in partnership with Paxful to allow Walmart users to buy Bitcoin at Walmart.