Walmart has installed 200 Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs in its U.S. supermarkets. Partnering with Coinstar and CoinMe, the retail giant hopes to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrencies by deploying a total of 80,000 ATMs in the United States.
Walmart welcomes 200 Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs to its U.S. supermarkets
This Thursday, October 21, 2021, retail giant Walmart announced the installation of 200 Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs in its supermarkets in the United States. According to information relayed by CoinDesk, Walmart has partnered with Coinstar. The firm is best known for its machines for exchanging physical coins for cash or gift cards.
“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot project that allows customers to purchase Bitcoin with cash. There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the U.S. that are part of this pilot,” said Molly Blakeman, director of communications at Walmart.
As part of the pilot program to boost cryptocurrency adoption, Walmart also claimed the expertise of CoinMe, a firm long associated with Coinstar. It is the first Bitcoin ATM company to be licensed in the United States. Since 2014, CoinMe has been installing ATMs in the United States. The company also offers a cryptocurrency exchange platform and a digital wallet.
Walmart wants to install 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S.
Walmart doesn’t plan to stop at 200 ATMs. Eventually, the American company wants to install a total of 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the United States, Bloomberg reports. This pilot program is therefore expected to be followed by a more massive deployment of ATMs. According to data provided by Coin ATM Radar, there are already more than 26,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the United States.
“Bitcoin ATMs have been around for some time, including in many supermarkets. Walmart is expanding access to Bitcoin to more people, though, and giving it additional legitimacy even over skeptics,” Sam Doctor, head of research at cryptocurrency brokerage BitOoda, tells Bloomberg.
To buy Bitcoin through a Coinstar ATM, Americans are asked to insert a bill into the machine. They will then receive a paper with an exchange code written on it. This code is used to redeem the purchased cryptocurrencies by going to CoinMe’s mobile app.
To redeem the currencies, one has to open an account on the exchange and complete the Know Your Customer (KYC) verification. This procedure allows the platform to verify the identity of investors in order to fight money laundering. This includes providing a government-issued identification document.
The ATM charges a high fee on each purchase. On its official website, Coinstar announces that “each purchase incurs a 4% transaction fee and a 7% exchange fee.” For Sam Doctor, ATMs remain a good way to boost cryptocurrency adoption.
“It’s an expensive way to buy Bitcoin, but it lowers the barriers to entry for early crypto buyers,” the BitOoda chief strategy officer argues.
According to information from CoinDesk, Walmart did not dare to issue a press release to announce the news after the hoax last month. At the beginning of September, a fake news story actually came out claiming that Walmart was now accepting in Litecoin (LTC). Before being refuted by the company, the information spread across the web, giving a boost to the Litecoin price. The individuals behind the operation had put together a fake press release.
Until now, Walmart has never made much of its ambitions in the digital currency space. Nevertheless, the group’s interest in the cryptocurrency sector is no secret. Last August, Walmart launched the recruitment of a digital currency product manager. It is also known that the retail giant has filed more than 17 patents exploiting blockchain technology.