Bitcoin ATM (Automated Teller Machine), also known as BTM (Bitcoin Teller Machine), is an internet-connected kiosk, a seamless way of trading Bitcoin without exposing your traditional financial details.
Bitcoin ATMs started as early as 2013 with a Robocoin machine, and since then, they have grown in popularity throughout the world.
Since their introduction, Bitcoin ATMs have gained traction, especially with the rising value and adoption of cryptocurrencies. Therefore, most of these machines allow users to buy or sell not only Bitcoin but also high market cap coins like Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash, and others.
There are several Bitcoin ATMs around the world. Newer providers also continue to emerge to benefit from the growing wave in the adoption of cryptocurrencies.
However, many people do not know how to use Bitcoin ATMs despite their popularity. In this article, you’ll learn about Bitcoin ATMs, their requirements, and the steps to buy or sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with them.
What is a Bitcoin ATM?
As mentioned earlier, Bitcoin ATMs are internet-connected kiosks that work like traditional Automated Teller Machines. However, instead of withdrawing or depositing money in regular ATMs, BTMs allow users to buy cryptocurrencies in exchange for cash.
Bitcoin ATMs are controlled by reputable providers. Each machine is connected to a crypto wallet instead of a bank in regular ATMs.
Several Bitcoin ATMs look like normal ATMs. The only difference is just that their software is customized for Bitcoin.
Meanwhile, instead of bank cards, they have a receptacle where users can deposit their money. Once they do this, the Bitcoin wallet attached to the BTM serves as a repository from which cryptocurrencies are sent or received.
The first Bitcoin ATM was introduced in Vancouver, Canada, by Robocoin in October 2013. Barely three months later, another BTM opened in Slovakia in December 2013.
Like cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin ATMs faced many regulatory challenges during their early days. In the end, an agreement was reached to allow BTMs to follow the same regulations as traditional ATMs.
For instance, there are limits set aside for deposits and withdrawals users can make during each transaction daily. This will prevent cases of money laundering through the channel.
Meanwhile, some countries, such as the US, set aside extra regulations such as the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies.
Before introducing these regulations, Bitcoin ATMs provide complete anonymity to users. However, in compliance with regulatory directories, users must complete KYC processes with their government-issued identity documents before using Bitcoin ATMs.
Today, there are more than 38,500 Bitcoin ATMs in the world, according to CoinATMRadar, with more than 90% in the United States. Popular providers include Genesis Coin and General Bytes.
Pros and Cons of Using a Bitcoin ATM
- Fast and reliable
- Promotes some level of anonymity
- You don’t need to expose your bank details
- Offers unrestricted access to crypto assets on the go
- Makes Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more accessible
- Very high transaction fee
- Limit on the transaction amount
- Most ATMs require users to verify their identity.
Using Bitcoin ATM
Bitcoin ATMs are usually situated in cafes, transport hubs, or shops. In many cases, shop or business owners deal directly with providers to provide Bitcoin ATMs in their place.
Meanwhile, unlike crypto exchanges, Bitcoin ATMs provide a convenient way of trading cryptocurrencies without exposing your financial information.
Bitcoin ATMs are connected to the internet to facilitate the exchange of crypto assets. Cryptocurrencies are moved to or from the BTM’s repository to owners’ wallets via their public key.
Bitcoin ATMs require users to verify their identity with cell phone numbers or the BTM provider’s account during each transaction.
Once verification is complete, the machine will send the specified transaction amount to the user’s wallet via their QR code.
Since they are not connected to any financial or banking system, users have to complete payment by inserting cash directly into the machine. After the transaction has been completed, it will be recorded on the blockchain, and a record will be sent to the user’s wallet.
5 Steps to buy cryptocurrency with Bitcoin ATMs
- Register with the BTM provider
- Verify the phone number
- Scan the wallet address
- Insert your cash to deposit
- Complete transaction
1. Register with the BTM provider
As mentioned earlier, Bitcoin machines vary with their provider. Therefore, before you use any BTM, you must register and verify your identity with the provider.
To do this, go to the provider’s website and create an account. Complete all necessary verifications before using the Bitcoin machine.
Meanwhile, some machines do not need users to register or validate any identity. You only need to scan your QR and pay for the transaction.
2. Verify the phone number
To use a Bitcoin machine, click BUY COIN/BITCOIN and insert your phone number registered with the provider.
Verify the phone number by inputting the verification code sent to your phone number in the necessary field.
3. Scan the wallet address
Once you complete the verification, choose the type of cryptocurrency you want to buy.
Afterward, scan your wallet QR code in the QR scanner provided.
You can get your wallet QR by clicking on the coin you want to buy, then tap RECEIVE to display the code. Put the code close to the scanner until scanning is completed.
Your QR code represents your wallet address. Meanwhile, using a QR code is better to avoid mistakes while typing the 42 strings address.
Meanwhile, you can also print the QR code on paper.
4. Insert your cash to deposit
You simply need to insert your cash into the cash receptacle to complete your transaction.
For most BTMs, the receptacle is illuminated. Place your cash deposit that indicates the amount of cryptocurrency you want to buy gently into the receptacle.
The machine will verify the cash’s authenticity and determine the amount of cash you deposited.
Afterward, the machine will calculate the equivalent value of the cryptocurrency that your cash can buy.
For instance, if you deposited $100 for BTC, a prompt confirming the value of your deposit in BTC will appear as thus: $100 = 0.0052 $BTC.
5. Complete the transaction
Check all fees and the calculated value in case there are any inconsistencies.
Once you’re satisfied with the values, click on BUY/CONFIRM/FINISH to verify your transaction.
Once the transaction is complete, you will receive a notification for a crypto deposit in your wallet.
Usually, transactions reflect in the user’s wallet in a few seconds. However, some may take minutes or hours, depending on the provider and blockchain network.
3 Steps to Sell Bitcoin with Bitcoin ATMs
Some Bitcoin ATMs allow not only buying but also selling Bitcoin. Selling Bitcoin with Bitcoin ATMs is not so different from withdrawing your money. Again, you’re using your wallet instead of your card here.
To sell Bitcoin with BTMs, specify that you want to sell BTC. Complete identity verification and scan the deposit QR code provided by the machine.
You can also manually deposit to the wallet address provided with the QR code. Specify the transfer amount in your wallet and confirm the transaction.
Here’s how to sell Bitcoin with Bitcoin ATMs:
- Verify identity
- Open your wallet and input BTM deposit address
- Collect your cash
1. Verify identity
Verification is important in selling Bitcoin, especially when the volume is high.
Before selling cryptocurrency, e.g., BTC, in a BTM, ensure you create an account with a trusted provider.
Verify your account with a government-issued ID card or phone number.
Once you’ve got an account, head to a BTM kiosk and verify your identity. Some providers accept identity documents, pictures, or biometric fingerprints for verification.
Select the option for selling BTC and complete verification before proceeding.
2. Open your wallet and input the BTM deposit address
After completing verification, the machine will display the deposit address and QR code where you can deposit your crypto.
Open your wallet and select BTC. Click on SEND to transfer BTC to the Bitcoin ATM.
In the field provided for ADDRESS, you can manually input the BTM’s deposit address.
To avoid mistakes, click on the QR scanner in your wallet to scan the deposit QR code.
Continue by reviewing the gas and transaction fee in your wallet. Once you are satisfied, tap SEND.
3. Collect your cash
After completing the transaction, wait for the machine to confirm the deposit.
Once the network confirmation is complete, the machine will immediately issue your cash.
Steps for buying or selling your cryptocurrency with any BTM may vary. However, they are always intuitive and easy to operate. Still, you have to follow instructions and on-screen guides.
How to Find a Bitcoin ATM Close To You?
You can easily find any Bitcoin ATM near you with any BTM finder online. Visit an online finder like Coin ATM Radar to search for local Bitcoin ATMs. To use CoinATMRadar:
Navigate to Coin ATM Radar website at https://coinatmradar.com/ on your web browser. On the website, you’ll see a map showing Bitcoin ATM locations throughout the world.
On the top left side of the map, input your location or address in the field provided and tap ENTER.
Alternatively, you can also tap the “USE MY CURRENT LOCATION” option to enable the website to scan your location with GPS.
Once you filter out ATMs with your location, you’ll find the nearest Bitcoin ATMs and their full details.
Click on the BTM to check its type, manufacturer, location, operating hour, supported transactions (buy or sell), supported cryptocurrencies, and fees.
To get to the Bitcoin ATM, click on GET DIRECTIONS. This will redirect you to Google Maps, where you can get the exact direction on how to get to the machine.
Apart from location, you also have the option to filter out your option according to the following:
- Type of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, or Litecoin.
- Type of transaction: Buy and/or Sell BTM.
- Type of machine: ATM, Teller, or other
Bitcoin ATM Fees
One of the biggest downsides of using Bitcoin ATMs is its high fee compared to other means of buying cryptocurrencies. Typically, using BTMs comes at a 10% to 15% transaction fee. Compared to Binance’s fee of 0.1%, that’s a whopping 9,900% increase.
Meanwhile, many Bitcoin ATMs providers may go as low as 7% on transaction fees. Still, losing about $100-$150 on a $1000 transaction is way too huge for every level of crypto trader.
Therefore, before using any Bitcoin ATM, ensure you do your research and check the fees before going ahead with the transaction. This way, you can save yourself a whole lot of money.
Bitcoin continues to be a focal point when it comes to cryptocurrency. Since its introduction, it has served as an important financial instrument and a potentially profitable investment asset for many people. This, in turn, has also boosted the adoption and use of Bitcoin ATMs.
Aside from its growth in value, the world’s shift in paradigm regarding financial activities has also benefited Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Therefore, as cryptocurrencies become more popular, so will Bitcoin ATMs.
Another important factor contributing to the wider use of BTM is its privacy-enhancing feature. With these machines, users will not have to expose their financial details to compromisable centralized systems.
Also, anyone can freely trade cryptocurrencies worldwide, especially in areas where centralized exchanges cannot operate due to regulatory issues.
Meanwhile, if you want to buy or sell cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin ATMs, it is important to do thorough research online and find the best provider.
While purchasing the asset, ensure you input information in their necessary fields correctly to avoid losing money.