Bitcoin is one step closer to being readily available to the masses. If in doubt, see your nearest Walmart. You may be able to buy Bitcoin there from a Coinstar kiosk.
To be clear, Walmart itself doesn’t offer customers a way to buy bitcoin, it’s its partner Coinstar. Coinstar is best known for offering kiosks that allow people to exchange their spare currency for bills or gift cards. (It was definitely my choice for my coin jars when I was a kid). Now, Coinstar will allow people to use its kiosks to buy bitcoin through a collaboration with Coinme, a crypto wallet company that provides Bitcoin ATMs.
Coinstar’s new service was first spotted and confirmed by CoinDesk Thursday.
“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot project that allows its customers to use cash to buy bitcoin,” a Walmart representative told CoinDesk. “There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located in Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot. “
Buying bitcoin seems to be relatively straightforward. On his website, which has a very long FAQ section, Coinstar explains that you must first to create a Coinme account. After that you can go to your nearest Walmart with a participating Coinstar kiosk – only 200 kiosks at some Walmart Stores are part of the pilot, so be sure to Check let the one near you offer the service and buy bitcoins in cash.
Oddly enough, you can only buy bitcoin with paper banknotes, not coins. It won’t give you change either, so make sure you have the exact amount you want to buy in cash. Additionally, Coinstar only allows users to buy bitcoin, not sell bitcoin they already own for cash.
Once your purchase is complete, the Coinstar kiosk will give you a voucher with a code that you can redeem on Coinme. All purchases come with a 4% transaction fee, a portion of which goes to Walmart, and a 7% currency exchange fee. A Coinme account, which provides users with a free crypto wallet, is required to access your bitcoin.
Regarding data privacy, Coinstar requires customers to provide a valid phone number to use its kiosks, but says it does not store it or any other sensitive data of people who buy bitcoin. Coinme, meanwhile, achieves a Know your customer check to confirm the identity of users, which includes providing a driver’s license or state ID and confirming that the user is over 18 years of age.
Although Coinstar’s pilot is small at the moment, the company has big plans for cryptocurrency. It plans to offer the possibility of buying bitcoins at more than 10,000 of its kiosks and allow the purchase of various cryptocurrencies by the end of the year.