- Walmart has launched a Bitcoin program to allow customers to buy BTC at 200 of its stores in the US.
- The retail company plans to install more Bitcoin ATMs across its over 4,700 stores in the US.
American multinational retail corporation Walmart has launched a program to allow its customers to buy Bitcoin at some of its stores. Walmart has started the Bitcoin program by launching 200 Bitcoin ATMs across 200 of its stores in the US. To execute the Bitcoin plans, Walmart entered into an agreement with coin-cashing machine company Coinstar and crypto-cash exchange Coinme.
Walmart installs 200 Bitcoin ATMs across stores
A source at Walmart revealed that the retail company intentionally did not issue an official press release on the new Bitcoin program. According to the source, Walmart’s action was due to a fake announcement released last month, claiming that Walmart stores would begin accepting Litecoin for payments.
The company’s communication director Molly Blakeman said:
Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase Bitcoin. There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.
Starting with 200 stores, Walmart plans to install 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs across the US as time goes on. Expectedly, Walmart will extend its Bitcoin program to all its over 4,700 stores.
Before now, people could only exchange their coins for gift cards or paper bills at Coinstar kiosks. Customers can now enjoy the new service that allows cash for Bitcoin, enabled by Coinme. In total, Coinstar operates 4,400 kiosks activated for Bitcoin purchases across 33 states in the US.
There have been several installations of crypto ATMs over the past months. Since the global health crisis, the crypto ATM industry has been fast rising with has potentials to continually expand at a rapid pace. Coinstar and Coinme’s partnership on Bitcoin-buying services began in 2019, and as of 2020, there were about 3,500 Coinme Bitcoin ATMs in the US. By April 2021, there were additionally 300 machines for Bitcoin buying in Florida.
Sam Doctor, the chief strategy officer and head of research at BitOoda, noted there are already a lot of Bitcoin ATMs at a lot of supermarkets. However, he added:
Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot.
Using BTC ATMs at Walmart
To use any of the Bitcoin ATMs, customers will need to insert paper money into the machine. In exchange, the person gets a paper voucher that has a redemption code. Customers will further need to set up a Coinme account and complete a background check before redeeming the code. Bitcoin ATMs have an 11 percent surcharge, which includes a 4 percent fee for the BTC option and a 7 percent cash exchange fee.
In contrast, crypto platforms like Binance charge between 3 percent and 4.5 percent. On the other hand, Coinbase charges 3.99 percent for debit and credit card purchases. Additionally, direct deposits from a bank account to either a Binance or Coinbase wallet attracts no charges.
Despite the high fees required, the news on Walmart installing Bitcoin ATMs was excitedly welcomed by many, including crypto analyst and YouTuber Lark Davis.
— Lark Davis (@TheCryptoLark) October 21, 2021