US multinational retailer Walmart recently launched a Bitcoin ATM trial in hopes of rolling out the project on a large scale
Walmart customers can now buy Bitcoin from the retail company, which operates multiple hypermarkets and grocery stores after working with Coinstar. The enterprise secretly started the pilot program with 200 Bitcoin ATMs installed in some stores in the US. Walmart plans to install up to 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the future, but has yet to announce when the initiative will begin.
Coinstar is a company that specializes in operating coin operated machines in the US, Europe and Asia. The company claims to have installed more than 23,000 coin operated machines in the region in which it operates. Coinstar allows users to exchange loose change for cash or gift cards, and generates revenue by deducting a fee to facilitate conversion.
The Washington-based company does not deal directly with cryptocurrencies. It used the services of CoinMe – a digital wallet to offer Bitcoin. After the collaboration, users can now exchange cash for Bitcoin at dozens of Walmart stores thanks to the ATM-like machines installed
Buying Bitcoin through these machines is straightforward, but relatively costly. Buyers enter banknotes into the ATM, which then issues a voucher with a redemption code. The voucher can only be redeemed after the Know-Your-Customer process has been completed. According to Coinstar FAQ page, “Each purchase has a 4% transaction fee and a 7% currency exchange fee.”
There has been mixed reactions to news of the pilot on social media, with some user Think of it as a step forward in terms of adopting cryptocurrencies. miscellaneous userhowever, consider the fees charged to be excessive.
Bitcoin ATMs have become very popular in the last few days despite the high fees. Most centralized exchanges charge less than half the fee charged by the ATMs installed in Walmart. Last year Coinstar announced its formation plan 3,500 CoinMe Bitcoin ATMs to benefit from market demand. Walmart’s partnership with Coinstar is enormous for the latter, considering the consumer base dominates the former in the US.