The American multinational retail corporation – Walmart – will reportedly allow its customers to purchase bitcoin using ATMs installed in some of its US shops. The initiative became possible following a collaboration between the retail giant Coinstar and Coinme.
The First Step
Last month Walmart’s name got involved in a story, according to which the firm had inked a partnership with Litecoin (LTC) to enable its clients to make payments with the cryptocurrency. While the rumors caused huge enthusiasm within the whole digital asset sector, they turned out to be fake, and the market (especially Litecoin) headed straight south.
Now, though, a more credible report from Bloomberg reads that the company had joined forces with Coinstar – known for its machines that can exchange physical coins for cash. As a result, the latter provided 200 bitcoin ATMs in Walmart stores across the USA, while the broader plan is to bring that number to 8,000 in the near future.
Sam Doctor – Chief Strategy Officer at the crypto brokerage BitOoda – said installing bitcoin kiosks in supermarkets is a growing trend in the States. However, he noted that Walmart is different than its rivals as its scope can reach a more considerable percentage of society:
“Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot.”
Clients willing to employ the new service have to insert a banknote into the Coinstar machine and get a paper voucher. They must also set up a Coinme account and complete a background check to redeem the code. There are some fees, though, as the ATMs charge 4% for the Bitcoin option, plus an additional 7% cash exchange fee.
While this is an expensive way to purchase the primary cryptocurrency, it “lowers the barriers to entry for first-time buyers,” Doctor concluded.
ATMs Do Not Provide Only Bitcoin
While bitcoin is the leading digital asset and arguably the most famous one, there are other cryptocurrencies that US residents can purchase from some of the kiosks.
Earlier this year, CoinFlip decided to list the highly popular Dogecoin (DOGE) on 1,800 cryptocurrency ATMs in 46 States. Daniel Polotsky – the CEO and Co-Founder of the company – said that the move would enable the general population a more straightforward way to receive exposure to the meme coin.
Taking a closer look at the global number of crypto ATMs, the USA is the undisputed leader. According to the latest data, the largest economy has 17,436 machines, which means one for every 19,023 American citizens. Canada, in second place, is far away from the top with only 1,400 ATMs.