Walmart has partnered with CoinMe and Coinstar to install 200 Bitcoin ATMs in its stores across the United States.
Although the beta version only includes 200 kiosks, plans for a broader launch to install 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs across the country, according to Bloomberg. No details about the time yet.
According to Coin ATM Radar, there are currently more than 25,000 Bitcoin ATMs installed in some grocery stores and gas stations in the United States. Coinstar operates 4,400 bitcoin shopping kiosks in 33 states.
Sam Doctor, Director of Strategy and Head of Research at BitOoda, told Bloomberg that while Bitcoin ATMs are not new and are already in many supermarkets:
“But Walmart is working to expand access to bitcoin to more people and give it extra legitimacy among skeptics if they distribute it after the first beta.”
Customers can use the Bitcoin ATM by entering a note and receiving a paper coupon with the redemption code. To redeem the code, customers must create a Coinme account and go through a background check. Users cannot withdraw Bitcoins from their accounts without any indication that this feature will be introduced in the near future.
Bitcoin ATMs charge an additional 11% fee, which consists of a 4% Bitcoin fee plus an additional 7% cash out fee.
In comparison, popular crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase charge between 3%, 4.5% and 3.99% on purchases using debit and credit cards, respectively. You can make a direct deposit from your bank account to your Binance or Coinbase wallet for free.
The news was backed up by someone, including influencer Lark Davis, who said, “Walmart is selling bitcoin now…wow!” However, other users have complained about the high fees.
datcyberguy wrote in response to the news: “BTC ATM fees are notably high, plus the ‘current’ BTC price is always significantly higher when buying and lower when selling.”
Reddit user Axatar commented, “It’s a steal, but at least it’s a sign of acceptance – they think some people might need enough BTC to pay a big fee.”
On the topic: The number of Bitcoin ATM deposits for cryptocurrency exceeds 5000 as adoption grows
This isn’t the first sign of Walmart’s interest in the cryptocurrency world. In August, the retail giant announced that it was looking for potential cryptocurrency clients to pursue the company’s digital currency strategy. The job posting has been removed from the Walmart website, but the job posting remains on Linkedin.
Walmart China has also partnered with blockchain-based supply chain platform VeChain to track products.
However, there was some skepticism about Bitcoin ATM news following Walmart’s fake press release in September announcing a partnership with Litecoin (LTC). In short, the hoax drove the altcoin prices up by more than 20%.