A Bitcoin ATM, as the name implies, is similar to a regular ATM — except that it transacts in Bitcoin.
How Do Bitcoin ATMs Work?
In all cases, Bitcoin-fiat exchange rates rely on the current market rate for Bitcoin (BTC), but with an added commission (ATM fees) charged by the ATM operator — on average, 8.4%.
In rarer cases, Bitcoin ATMs (with or without ATM fees) may also support Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency debit cards for cash withdrawals. However, Bitcoin ATMs generally only accept cash as a means of payment to purchase Bitcoin — not credit cards or other plastic.
How to Use a Bitcoin ATM to Buy or Sell Bitcoin: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to use a Bitcoin ATM to buy Bitcoin requires you to scan the QR code of your Bitcoin wallet using the ATM’s scanner. This gives the machine information about your Bitcoin address or other cryptocurrency wallet address.
- Some machines will require you to enter your phone number to receive a verification code, and/or to show an official ID to comply with KYC and AML rules.
- You will need to type in the amount of BTC you wish to buy: in some cases, a machine will give you a printed receipt for you to double check before proceeding to the actual transaction. Once that’s done, you insert cash bills and wait for the transaction to be confirmed on the blockchain.
- Selling Bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM usually requires you to send your Bitcoin to a wallet address given by the Bitcoin ATM through a QR code. For Bitcoin sales, you will either receive your cash immediately or have to wait for a redeem code while the transaction is confirmed on the blockchain.
Three Popular Bitcoin ATM Producers
The next most successful manufacturer is General Bytes, with a close to 30% share, while Bitaccess, Coinsource and Lamassu trail follow with a 5-10% share each.
How to Find Bitcoin ATM Near Me
The truth is, a Bitcoin ATM is still sort of a novelty and not something you’ll find on every corner. While it's possible that you live near one, it’s also possible that it may be out of service, or simply charge exorbitant fees, similar to how regular cash ATMs can be.
Another great way to find a Bitcoin ATM on the go is to simply whip out your phone. If you have a smartphone with Google Maps installed, you can do a quick search for “Bitcoins for sale near me” or “Bitcoin Store” to find the nearest Bitcoin ATM and browse reviews from local users discussing the functionality of the ATM. The reviews can be a handy feature to see if the ATM is reliable and in service. It would be a shame to trek all the way to a Bitcoin ATM just to find out that it is no longer operable. In Singapore, for example, all Bitcoin ATMs were recently ordered to close.