The international trading giant Walmart has launched an initiative that allows anybody to buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks. Though the idea of buying cryptocurrency at your local supermarket sounds a bit futuristic, some of the US-based stores are giving their customers a chance to become crypto owners.
Is It Really Possible to Buy Bitcoin at Walmart?
Coinstar ATMs are used to exchange coins for paper bills or gift cards. Now, they’ve got another feature to boast of. Currently, there are 200 kiosks that sell Bitcoin across Walmart’s stores. Coinstar is planning to increase the number of ATMs from 200 to 8,000, branching out all over the country. Such a bold expansion is powered by Coinme, a cryptocurrency-to-cash exchange service.
The reviews of local buyers and numerous screenshots of ATMs may serve as a reliable confirmation. To become a proud owner of the most well-known cryptocurrency, it is necessary to:
- Find a suitable ATM at a local Walmart store
- Insert dollar bills into the machine
- Log in or create a Coinme account
- Complete a KYC check
- Redeem a voucher
Mind that the machine charges a 4% fee for Bitcoin exchange and a 7% cash exchange fee, so it will be 11% in total. Quite a number, isn’t it? The presence of a mediator service affects the customers, making them overpay. However, most American banks are not ready to work with encrypted money. Coinme takes certain risks regarding legal regulations of its business activity with cryptocurrencies.
Is It Legal?
Encrypted money is not forbidden in the majority of American states. However, some states like New York, New Hampshire, Florida, New Mexico, and Connecticut require money transmitter licenses for potential operators. The Bitcoin ATM status also remains uncertain and depends on the particular state. New York, for instance, requires licensing for virtual currency financial intermediaries through its BitLicense. Others have ruled that the act of transmitting money doesn’t affect cryptocurrencies, and some have a more complex strategy. In Texas, for example, a license is only required if an ATM is connected to the cryptocurrency exchange in which the Bitcoin is purchased.
Walmart is not the first to bring the idea of such ATMs to life. Bitcoin ATMs have existed for a while, but they haven’t received a lot of media coverage or trust from the general population. Now, Walmart has made a huge step towards making cryptocurrency conventional and available for larger segments of society. There have been some rumors about Walmart’s crypto innovation lately. A recent hoax claimed Walmart would allow its customers to pay the bills with Litecoin. As we see, the fake news wasn’t completely misguiding.
The cryptocurrency industry has been on the rise for the past few years, and the appearance of Bitcoin ATMs seems to be an expected move. Despite its turbulent nature, with constant rises and falls, cryptocurrencies remain very attractive for those who would like to keep their assets apart from governmental control.
However, ATMs should be overwatched by all means to avoid fraudulent schemes like money mules, human traffickers, and scammers. The kinds of money might change, but human greed stays the same. Can we recommend exchanging your paper money assets into cryptocurrency? Well, if you have experience in the crypto world, you might give the new ATMs a chance. In other cases, real estate or resource markets still seem to be more attractive for reliable investments.
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