Walmart has partnered up with Coinstar, a coin-cashing machine manufacturer, and CoinMe to place 200 Bitcoin ATMs at its stores throughout the U.S.
Bloomberg reports that although the pilot only includes 200 kiosks but the larger launch plan calls for the installation of 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the country. As of now, there are no details regarding the timeline.
Coin ATM Radar reports that there are over 25,000 Bitcoin ATMs in select grocery stores and service stations across the U.S. Coinstar has 4,400 kiosks that allow Bitcoin purchases and is available in 33 states.
Bloomberg was informed by Sam Doctor, chief strategy officer and head for research at BitOoda, that Bitcoin ATMs are not a new concept and can be found in many supermarkets.
“Walmart opens Bitcoin access to more people and gives it legitimacy among skeptics if they expand it beyond the initial pilot.”
By inserting a banknote, customers can use the Bitcoin ATM to receive a paper coupon with a redemption code. Customers must then create a Coinme account, complete background checks and redeem the code. Customers cannot withdraw Bitcoin from Coinme accounts. There is no indication that this will be possible in the near future.
Bitcoin ATMs charge a 11% surcharge. This includes a 4% fee to use Bitcoin and a 7% cash exchange fee.
Comparatively, the popular cryptocurrency trading platforms Binance or Coinbase charge between 3% and 4.5% and 3.99% respectively for debit and credit card purchases. Direct deposits from a bank account can be made to Binance or Coinbase wallets for free.
Some users welcomed the news as evidence of mainstream adoption, such as Lark Davis, an influencer who stated “Wal Mart selling Bitcoin now…cool!” Other users however complained about the high fees.
Datcyberguy responded to the news by tweeting datcyberguy, “BTC ATM fees can be notoriously high and the ‘current” BTC price is always much lower when buying than when selling.”
Reddit user Axatar commented, “It’s an extortion but at least it’s an indication of adoption — they believe some people might desire BTC enough to spend huge fees.”
Related: Bitcoin Depot’s crypto ATMs exceed 5,000 as adoption grows
Walmart isn’t the only one to show interest in crypto. The retail giant revealed that it was looking for a crypto product leader to help drive its digital currency strategy in August. Walmart has removed the job listing, but a Linkedin advertisement remains for the position.
Walmart China also joined forces with VeChain, a blockchain-based supply chain management platform VeChain in order to track products.
However, there was some doubt about the Bitcoin ATM news. This comes on the heels of a September fake Walmart press release, which announced a partnership between Litecoin and Walmart (LTC). This hoax temporarily caused the altcoin’s prices to rise by more than 20%.