The cryptocurrency world has welcomed many popular retailers in the past few decades, and Walmart has now joined these companies. This giant retailer aims to make cryptocurrency more prevalent and easily available to the public.
Collaboration with Coinme and Coinstar
One of the leading retailers in America, Walmart has announced a collaboration with Coinme – a crypto exchange company and Coinstar (a coin cashing machine) to launch 200 bitcoin ATMs in the United States. Even though they have introduced only 200 ATMs for now, a report by Bloomberg suggests that the company has a broader plan of introducing more than 8,000 bitcoin ATMs across the US in the coming years. However, there are no details about the deadline for this project yet.
Currently, the US has over 25,000 bitcoin ATMs located in different states. These ATMs are found at supermarkets, gas stations, and other retail stores. Coinstar manages 4,400 kiosks located in more than 33 states in America.
With this new project announcement, customers can buy Bitcoins at the Walmart stores in America. A CoinDesk editor confirmed that these ATMs work fine after recently buying Bitcoins from a Walmart store in Pennsylvania.
Coinme and Coinstar collaborated for one of the biggest cryptocurrency projects that would allow people to buy Bitcoin for cash. Walmart has also become part of this project by introducing 200 Coinstar kiosks at its stores across the US.
Bitcoin ATMs and the Transaction Fees
SAM Doctor, the head of the research department of BitOoda, said that Bitcoin ATM is not new. They are available at supermarkets and gas stations. Walmart has made this technology more accessible to people with their new pilot program. Now, customers can exchange their fiat currency for Bitcoin. They have to insert the banknote in the ATM and get the paper voucher containing a code for redemption. They can redeem their Bitcoins by registering an account with Coinme. Complete the registration by filling the KYC form on Coinme and you can redeem your voucher for Bitcoins.
Note that currently, there is no feature that could allow people to withdraw Bitcoin from their bank accounts. There is no indication of such a feature launching in the future either. The Bitcoin ATM comes with a fee of 11%, of which 7% is the cash exchange fee. If compared with Binance and Coinbase, the Bitcoin ATMs are relatively expensive.
The Compliance Concerns
Although the Bitcoin ATMs are highly likely to have a high adoption rate, the service has a few compliance concerns. Money laundering is one of the most common risks associated with Bitcoin ATMs, according to Seth Sattler, DigitalMint’s compliance director. These risks occur because the crypto ATM operators do not consider the risks of illicit activities that these machines are vulnerable to.
Despite these compliance risks, the users welcomed this news with positivity. Lark Davis even went on to tweet, “Wal Mart selling #bitcoin now… cool!”. However, some users complained about the high fee structure. One of the users tweeted that the price of Bitcoin is always high when they are buying the coins and low when selling them. Most social media users appreciated Walmart’s decision to accept Bitcoin as an alternative payment method. A user tweeted that Facebook and other popular companies will soon accept Bitcoin as a legal form of payment.
Plus, the ATMs charge an incredibly high fee. Fortunately, buyers appreciate this idea since it will be easier to get a Bitcoin voucher for cash. It isn’t the first time the company has been participating in the crypto world. Earlier, they had announced that they were looking for a crypto product lead to improve their digital currency strategy.
Though the job is no longer listed on Walmart’s official website, you can still check its ad on LinkedIn. For now, the fee is the major concern of customers as 11% on each transaction is a bit too much for an average customer. The 4% of this fee is for the Bitcoin option. It looks a little higher than the average fees charged by other cryptocurrency platforms, such as Binance, which also allows users to deposit money from their bank account to the Finance account directly without any extra charges.
In addition to the United States, the popularity of Bitcoin ATMs is growing rapidly in other parts of the world. More and more retailers embrace these digital currency ATMs to offer a premium transaction experience to their customers. Take El Salvador, for example. The Bitcoin ATMs in this area enable people to convert their plastic money into Bitcoin or crypto tokens. As a result, El Salvador has become the first country in the world to consider Bitcoin as a tender.