Cryptocurrencies have taken the financial world by storm.
Bitcoin, by far the most popular and most famous cryptocurrency, has grown from humble beginnings to become a crypto powerhouse able to compete with fiat money. And Bitcoin is hardly alone—there are many popular “altcoins,” including Ethereum, Solana, Cardano, and even the original “memecoin” itself, Dogecoin.
Most people think of cryptocurrency as an entirely online phenomenon, but there’s a real-world infrastructure that goes along with it. And, just like “real-world” money, there are even ATM services for Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin ATMs, for instance, are growing in popularity around the world. But what are they, how do they work, and why should you use one? Those are the questions we’ll answer in the following article, so let’s dive in.
What Are Bitcoin ATMs?
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and explain what a Bitcoin ATM is and what it does.
It probably goes without saying that wherever money is concerned—even something as intangible as cryptocurrency—there will always be side industries and services that will appear alongside it. This is where Bitcoin ATMs come into the picture, which have started to show up in cities all over the world. The US has the most, with Canada and the UK at a (distant) second and third.
As for the Bitcoin ATM itself, it looks and works much like a traditional ATM. But unlike the regular ATM, a crypto ATM only works for financial exchanges with Bitcoin as well as a few other of the most popular cryptos, including Ethereum, Bitcoin, etc.
In short, that means you can use a crypto ATM to buy or sell a crypto, or even cash it out into fiat currency (typically US dollars). Some kiosks also allow you to buy and sell gift cards in crypto.
And much like a traditional ATM, a Bitcoin ATM is easy to use with a simple touchscreen monitor, a QR scanner, and bill acceptors and dispensers for buying and cashing out cryptocurrencies.
How Does a Bitcoin ATM Work?
Now that we’ve cleared up what a Bitcoin ATM is, let’s take a look at how it works.
The truth is, if you’re at all familiar with a traditional ATM, you’ll have no problem using a crypto ATM kiosk. There are, however, a few additional steps to take before you can start buying Bitcoin.
Establish a Digital Wallet
First of all, you’ll have to set up a personal digital wallet, which is similar to having a bank account established for a traditional ATM.
The digital wallet is the online account that contains your cryptocurrency tokens, and you’ll also need one to be able to keep track of your crypto transactions.
Find a Bitcoin ATM
Now that you’ve got a digital wallet, you’re ready to start making some transactions of your own. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a Bitcoin ATM near you, since they’re quite common in most metropolitan areas around the country.
How to Use a Crypto ATM
Once you’ve found a nearby crypto ATM, it’s time to get started.
Now that you have a digital wallet established, the next step is to set up an account with the company that operates whatever ATM you’ll be using. Then you’ll need to verify your identity, which is an important countermeasure against fraud.
There’s nothing difficult about this step, as it usually involves entering your phone number. The machine will then text a single-use passcode to your phone, and you will enter that code on the ATM.
Now you’re ready to use the Bitcoin ATM. If you’d like to buy a cryptocurrency, just feed your cash into the machine as you would when depositing money in a regular ATM. The equivalent amount of crypto will appear in your digital wallet.
If you’re cashing out some crypto, the process is slightly different. You’ll need to enter the amount you’d like to sell from your digital wallet. This might take a few minutes, since the transaction has to be verified on the blockchain.
Once that’s done, you’ll be notified and you can withdraw the equivalent cash amount in US dollars from the machine.
Voilà!—it’s as easy as that.
Why Should You Use Crypto ATMs?
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to use a Bitcoin ATM, it’s worth taking a look at some of the reasons why you should use one.
Obviously, the longstanding familiarity of ATMs is a major factor in their popularity. But there are many other advantages to using them, and we’ll take a look at just a few of them here.
1. Easy to Use
If you’re an eager beginner, just getting into the cryptocurrency scene, a Bitcoin ATM is a great option.
For one thing, if you know how to use a traditional ATM, then you’ll have no problem using these machines. Plus, the barrier to entry is very low, and all you really need is a digital wallet, a mobile phone, and some cash. No special experience is needed, and you can get started transacting crypto right away.
There’s really no topping crypto ATMs for their convenience and speed.
When you’re buying crypto, the transaction only takes a few minutes. Just feed your cash into the machine, and your cryptocurrency will show up in your digital wallet with little delay. Even when you’re looking to cash out, the verification delay is often only slightly longer, so you won’t have long to wait to get that cash in hand.
So, if you’ve got places to go and stuff to buy, a Bitcoin ATM is perfect for you.
Privacy is without doubt one of the top concerns in this interconnected world we live in.
There are so many opportunities for data thieves and hackers to nab our private data and information, and making crypto purchases shouldn’t be one of them. Crypto ATM services are an ideal solution to this problem, since they help keep your crypto transactions safe and secure.
It all boils down to the fact that you’re converting cash to crypto, thereby avoiding a data footprint for your transaction such as would be left using a credit or debit card, or a bank account.
4. Easy to Locate
One of the major advantages of using Bitcoin ATMs is their ubiquity in most large or small metropolitan areas.
So, as long as you’re within easy reach of most inhabited areas in the country, chances are you’ll be able to find a crypto ATM somewhere nearby. Coinciding with the growing interest in crypto, these machines are likely to be even more popular and widespread in the coming years.
5. Perfect For the “Unbanked”
If, for whatever reason, you happen to be among the over 6% of US households that rank among the “unbanked,” a Bitcoin ATM is a great choice.
The unbanked are those without bank accounts of any kind, and although the number of unbanked is declining, there are still those who might find crypto ATMs an excellent alternative. All you need is a mobile phone and a digital wallet, which is easy to create, to have access to these machines.
Security is without question one of the main benefits of using cryptocurrency ATM services.
As we’ve mentioned before, transactions with these machines involve cash, which limits the ability of malicious actors to steal your money. Best of all, these ATMs are naturally secure by their very nature, since they require little information.
Bitcoin ATMs are also non-custodial, in contrast to crypto exchanges, so your cryptocurrency is all your own. Any hack of the machine wouldn’t put your information or your money at risk.
7. Makes Crypto Investing a Cinch
Investing in cryptocurrency can be an intimidating prospect.
If you have little money to invest, opting for a large crypto exchange might not be ideal. Using a Bitcoin ATM is a perfect entry to this world, since it’s a familiar interface and only involves small-scale exchanges. All it takes to get started is a little cash and a digital wallet, and you’re ready to start making your way in the wild world of crypto investing.
8. You’ve Got a Lot of Extra Cash
When you work in the service or delivery industries, it’s common to have a lot of extra cash to deal with. Bitcoin ATMs are one important way to convert this money into something a little more useful, such as a cryptocurrency investment.
And, again, if you’re among those who don’t have or don’t want a bank account, parking your cash into crypto holdings is a great way to make that money go to work for you.
9. Access Money Overseas
Exchanging money from one fiat currency to another can be a real hassle when you’re traveling abroad.
Using cryptocurrencies is one convenient workaround, especially now that Bitcoin ATMs have begun to pop up all around the world. Forget currency exchanges or traveler’s cheques—if you’ve got crypto holdings, you’re all set. Just visit a local crypto ATM and withdraw cash in the local currency.
The widespread availability of Bitcoin ATMs means that you have the option to buy or sell crypto wherever these machines are located.
That means there are few limitations on where you can invest in or cash out of cryptos anywhere in the country. So if you move around a great deal for work or wanderlust, you’ll have the option to continue investing in cryptocurrency in most states and cities.
11. Help the Mainstreaming of Crypto
When you use a Bitcoin ATM, you’re doing your part to help boost the popularity and mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.
For enthusiastic crypto partisans, this is reason enough to make use of one of these machines now and then. The more people use crypto ATM services, the more visible these machines become to pique the interest of laymen. And that means more cryptocurrency users, which is a net gain however you look at it.
12. Makes It Easy to Create a Digital Wallet
If you’re interested in creating a digital wallet anyway, using a Bitcoin ATM to do it is a great choice.
Instead of creating a wallet online, most crypto ATMs let you create one when purchasing crypto. It usually generates a paper wallet, which allows you to keep your cryptocurrency safely offline in a “hard wallet.” On the other hand, it will also give you the option to transfer the crypto to a secure online digital wallet.
13. Skip the Hassle of Online Exchanges
Finally, using a Bitcoin ATM lets you avoid the obstacles that come with online cryptocurrency exchanges.
For one thing, these exchanges require linking to your bank account, which means they can access your banking information. That means a little less privacy in a world where the public-private distinction is diminishing every day.
There’s none of that with a Bitcoin ATM, which are private and non-custodial.
Start Using Bitcoin ATM Services Today
So there you have it.
Now that you know what Bitcoin ATM services are, and how they work, what are you waiting for? With the growing popularity of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin ATMs are popping up all over the country and even the world. There’s never been a better time to start investing in crypto, and these machines make the process smooth and hassle free.
Hopefully, this article has answered some of your most pressing questions about crypto ATMs. And while you’re here, please check out the rest of our site for more interesting news and advice.