Walmart has now partnered with coin-cashing machine firm Coinstar and crypto-cash exchange CoinMe to set up 200 Bitcoin ATMs in its stores across the United States.
Even though the pilot features only 200 kiosks, the wider launch aims to eventually see the installation of 8,000 bitcoin ATMs throughout the nation, as reported by Bloomberg. For now, there are no more details available about the timelines of these installations.
Based on Coin ATM Radar, there are more than 25,000 bitcoin ATMs at some selected grocery stores and service stations in the United States. Coinstar operates 4,400 kiosks that support Bitcoin purchases across 33 states.
Sam Doctor, the chief strategy officer and head of research at BitOoda, told Bloomberg that while Bitcoin ATMs are not a new development in the market, and can readily be found at several supermarkets:
“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 can use the Bitcoin ATM by inserting a banknote and getting a paper voucher with a redemption code.to redeem that code, users need to create a Coinme account and then complete a background check. Customers cannot withdraw Bitcoin from their account, without any indication of plans to offer the functionality in the short term.
These Bitcoin ATMs have an 11% surcharge, consisting of a 4% fee for the Bitcoin option, and an extra 7% cash exchange fee. In comparison, popular cryptocurrency trading platforms Coinbase and Binance charge 3.99% and 3% to 4.5% for credit and debit card purchases respectively.
It is currently free to make a direct deposit from a bank account to a Coinbase or Binance wallet. This news was welcomed as a sign of mainstream adoption by some people like influencer Lark Davis who said “Wal Mart selling Bitcoin now… cool!”
But, other users have complained about the high fees. One user by the name datcyberguy tweeted in response to the news:
“BTC ATM fees are notoriously high plus the ‘current’ BTC price is always way higher when buying and lower when selling.”
Reddit user Axatar 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.”
That is not the first sign that Walmart has shown in the cryptocurrency world. In August 2021, the retail giant confirmed that it was looking for a cryptocurrency product lead to push the retailer’s digital currency strategy.
The job listing has since been deleted from Walmart’s website, but the advertisement for the role remains on Linkedin.
Walmart China has also come up with the blockchain-based supply chain management platform VeChain to track different products.
There were some doubts over the Bitcoin ATM news that comes hot on the heels of a phony Walmart press release in September. The fake press release announced a partnership with Litecoin (LTC) and it managed to send the prices of this altcoin exploding higher by more than 20% briefly.