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Walmart Becomes Your One-Stop Shop For Everything, Now With Bitcoin ATMs
By Ell Ko, 25 Oct 2021
Image via Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com
Bitcoin isn’t a currency that feels very tactile. After all, it’s a digital currency: most transactions take place online, and crypto wallets are all digital, at least for now.
But this could change with the introduction of Bitcoin ATMs fitted neatly into nationwide grocery stores, offering shoppers the option to purchase cryptocurrency on the spot with their spare change.
In a largely silent move, Walmart has begun a pilot program of these machines in partnership with Coinstar, a company that specializes in coin-cashing machines, and Coinme, a cryptocurrency wallet and payment firm that specializes in Bitcoin ATMs.
“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin,” Molly Blakeman, Walmart communications director, confirmed in an email to CoinDesk. “There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.”
The way these work is via paper vouchers, which are issued after the customer inserts cash into the machine. Then, a Coinme account is required to be set up, and a know-your-customer check has to be passed before the voucher is printed and redeemed.
When purchasing Bitcoin via a machine like this, a 4% charge is charged alongside a 7% cash exchange fee, according to Coinstar’s website.
CoinDesk reporter Ian Allison tested out one of these machines located in the Walmart in Warminster, PA, and has verified that it is, indeed, functional and real. However, a source close to the pilot allegedly told the news outlet that the retail giant has refrained from announcing this new program due to the recent Litecoin scandal, which saw a fake press release claiming that the currency would be accepted as a form of payment in Walmart stores.
[via Boing Boing, cover image via Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com]
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