In another sign of increased adoption of the world’s leading cryptocurrency, Walmart has installed 200 Bitcoin ATMs in stores across the U.S. in a partnership between Coinstar and Coinme, according to reporting from Reuters.
- The pilot program involves Coinstar, best known for its machines that allow customers to exchange U.S. coins for paper bills or gift cards, and digital currency exchange Coinme. It will see over 8,000 Bitcoin kiosks rolled out as part of a broader initiative, of which 200 are in Walmart. In order to use the machines, customers must have a Coinme wallet and pass know-your-customer requirements. There is a 4% fee for exchanging Bitcoin and 7% exchange fee for fiat, according to the Coinstar website.
- The launch was somewhat subdued as Walmart was the target of a hoax recently, which claimed the company would soon be supporting ATMs for the currency Litecoin. The scam was made to appear all the more believable as it appeared on leading press release distribution services, GlobeNewswire and was covered by several major news outlets, including Reuters and CNBC. It caused the price of Litecoin to jump 33% before Walmart publicly dispelled the rumors.
- Litecoin is currently the world’s 15th largest coin by market cap and was trading at US$199 at press time.
- Bitcoin ATMs were first deployed in the U.S. in 2014 and help people access the crypto market by allowing them to buy it directly with cash. There are now close to 50,000 such machines in the U.S. alone, and 130 in Hong Kong as of late August, making it the highest concentration of Bitcoin ATMs in Asia.
- Bitcoin has been on a price tear for the past month, gaining more than 60% in that time to reach a new all-time high of US$67,276 earlier this week. It has since dropped back slightly and was trading at US$63,740 at press time, according to data from CoinGecko.