U.S retail giant, Walmart has announced the installation of 200 bitcoin ATMs across its stores in the nation. This is part of a pilot test program. It may see Walmart install up to 8000 ATMs across its chain of stores.
From these ATMs, Walmart customers will be able to purchase bitcoin. This is made possible by the partnership between crypto-cash exchange Coinme and the designers of the ATM, Coinstar.
While Bitcoin ATMs are not new, the installation of the same across Walmart stores gives legitimacy to an area that has attracted a great deal of skepticism. However, some users have suggested that this is a sign of mainstream adoption and could very well influence more customers into the ecosystem.
Meanwhile, this is not Walmart’s first foray into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Earlier in August, the company set out to recruit a crypto product lead for the company’s digital currency strategy. The company also partnered with Vechain, a blockchain-based supply management platform to track its products.
To use the ATM, customers need to insert a banknote and get a paper voucher with a redemption code in return. Customers who open a Coinme account and complete the background verification will be able to redeem the code.
Using the ATMs attracts an 11% surcharge. When comparing Binance and Coinbase between that charge between 3% to 4.5%, and 3.99% for debit and credit card purchases, this is expensive.
Bitcoin ATMs on the rise
The cryptocurrency ATM industry expanded rapidly following the COVID pandemic. According to Coin ATM Radar, there are up to 29,000 bitcoin ATMs in the world. Of these, up to 25,000 are located across grocery stores and service stations in the United States.
Coinstar is one of the leading operators of Bitcoin ATMs across the state. The company announced plans in 2020 to double its fleet of 3,500. Currently, Coinstar runs 4400 stalls across 33 states.
On one hand, the rise in these ATMs is proof positive of increased mainstream adoption. On another hand, it will drive increased participation of citizens in the crypto industry. This is the case for example in El Salvador where we reported that Salvadorans are now purchasing more Bitcoin in USD from the ATMs.
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