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Bitcoin ATM – option to top up your wallet without online banking

They bring the handiness of cash operations into fiat-to-crypto operations. Most of them are used to purchase crypto while some can sell it for cash while staying within the legal limits of your country.

5 min

Table of Contents

Bitcoin ATM – what is it?

Bitcoin ATM is a handy way of replenishing your BTC wallet balance with fiat without using any online banking services. You may simply get to a bitcoin ATM machine, input your BTC wallet address, put a desired amount of money in it, and you’ve got your newly purchased crypto on your address! You can do it either with a card or in a cash form – it would depend on the ATM format.

Some crypto-ATMs support crypto-to-cash operations as well. That means that you can buy bitcoin from an ATM. However, these are a minority at the moment – about 20% of all bitcoin ATM machines. With the handiness comes the price – all bitcoin machines charge users a fee of at least 7% and up to 25%. So this is not the most low-cost option out there.

What is the history behind Bitcoin ATMs?

On October 29, 2013, a Robocoin machine opened in the Waves coffee shop in downtown Vancouver, Canada. This BTC machine is understood to be the world’s first publicly available Bitcoin ATM. On December 8, 2013, Europe’s first Bitcoin ATM was installed in Bratislava, Slovakia. The first machine in the United States went online on February 18, 2014, in a cigar bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

By the 1st anniversary of Robocoin machine installation, there were 282 Bitcoin ATM machines worldwide with more than half of them being located in North America. Now there are more than 25 500 crypto-ATMs operating around the world.

How to use a bitcoin machine?

Crypto-ATMs can be used both to purchase crypto and, provided that this option is supported by the machine itself, to sell it for fiat. To determine their capabilities, you would have to either check it by visiting this bitcoin machine personally or use some kind of tracking service that collects the data on BTC ATMs (for example, Coin ATM Radar). Alternatively, you may find an ATM operator that would suit your needs the most and use their service to locate the nearest machine.

ATM operator that would suit your needs the most and use their service to locate the nearest machine.

How to buy crypto with it?

  1. To use crypto-ATM you would need to create an account within a crypto-ATM network first. To do so, you would need to find a company that hosts the machine you want to use (for example, Coinsource) and sign up on their website. After the KYC procedure is completed, you would be able to use the ATMs of this ATM operator.
  2. To purchase any cryptocurrency you would need to have a cryptocurrency wallet, where you can safely store-purchased crypto. Guarda is secure, easy to use, and available for many computer and mobile platforms.
  3. With all the preparation procedures being finished, visit the ATM of your choice, input the desired sum of cash to be spent, and specify the destination wallet address. ATM operator will then send you the amount of purchased crypto according to the market prices minus the operator’s fee. Of course, you can specify the wallet address of another person or service to send them cash without actually possessing crypto in the meanwhile.
  4. As soon as your purchase transaction is completed, you will receive a confirmation that your purchase is successful either in the form of a printed receipt or as a record in the ATM operator account.

Can I sell my crypto with such a machine?

It would actually depend on whether this option is supported or not – only about 20% of crypto-ATMs support it.

  1. Just like with purchasing crypto, to sell crypto you would also need to have an account within the ATM operator of your choice. If this operator supports both purchases and sells of crypto, you may actually use the same account.
  2. Log in to your account at the ATM of your choice and specify the amount of crypto to sell. There you will be provided with the wallet address of the ATM operator in the form of a QR-code. Scan this code and send the specified sum of cryptocurrency to sell it.
  3. Once the confirmation process is completed (beware – it may take more time than the purchase) you will be able to withdraw cash from this ATM minus the operator’s fee.

Most countries require some kind of KYC and/or AML procedure to be held before processing any operations with the client. This is made to prevent money laundering or terrorist activity financing so operations via Crypto-ATMs are as legal as all other crypto-operations in your particular country. For example, in the US Bitcoin ATM operators must be registered as Money Service Businesses and are regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Needless to say that USA financial policies and regulations are probably the strictest in the world.

Where can I find them?

Most of the bitcoin ATM machines are located in the USA (22 408 units) with Canada being the next country on this list with merely 1 782 crypto-ATM units. Here is the table containing the Top-10 crypto-ATM rich countries.

United States22,408
Canada1,782
United Kingdom166
Austria156
Hong Kong130
Switzerland123
Spain117
Poland89
Romania78
Greece67

Are there any other supported currencies?

Yes, some crypto-ATMs allow operations with other major mainstream currencies, such as ETH, LTC, and DOGE. That being said the majority of crypto-ATMs still support BTC-only (or BTC-derivative) operations (25 345) with the next biggest currency being LTC (18 582), followed by ETH (14 875), BCH (7 250), and DOGE (7 147).

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