Bitcoin is one of the leading cryptocurrencies and it skyrocketed to more than a thousand dollars in price last year. Everyone is willing to buy it and this is apparently why Walmart will allow customers to purchase Bitcoin at its select store across the United States. Several leading companies have joined the cryptocurrency space over the past few months. Walmart is the latest to join the list. But the retail giant itself is not offering Bitcoin to customers. For this, it has partnered with Coinstar and crypto-cash exchange Coinme. Coinstar is a coin-cashing machine company that is known for offering kiosks that let users to trade in their spare change for bills or gift cards. Now it will allow Walmart customers to buy Bitcoin through its kiosks.
The retailer has installed kiosks at around 200 stores. With this Bitcoin is a step closer to being easily available to the people. Those who are willing to buy Bitcoin may be able to do it from their nearest Walmart store. “A pilot project has been launched in collaboration with Coinstar and Coinme. Founded in 2014, Coinme is the first licensed Bitcoin ATM company in America. Under the pilot project, customers will be able to use cash to purchase Bitcoin. As part of this pilot, 200 kiosks have been installed at several locations inside Walmart stores,” a Walmart representative was quoted as saying.
Over the coming months, the company is reportedly planning to install these kiosks at around 8,000 locations in the United States. Bitcoin ATMs are already popular in the country. According to a data available with Coin ATM Radar, there are already more than 25,000 Bitcoin ATMs in America. These have been installed at grocery stores and service stations. Coinstar alone is operating around 4,400 kiosks in at least 33 states of America. The firm has been planning to explore the crypto space more and was looking to include cryptocurrency in its daily operations. It even tried to hire people who could help the company in developing ‘the digital currency strategy and product roadmap.’
An August job listing of the firm said that it wants people who can identify ‘crypto-related investment and partnerships.’ It is worth mentioning that there will be USD 2,500 limit per day. Also, those who are buying Bitcoin will have to pay 4 percent transaction fee. This will be over and above of a 7 percent exchange fee. Users will have to set up their Coinme account. There is very long FAQ section at the company’s website which explains how this can be done. They will have to insert their cash and then redeem their voucher.
Coins will not be accepted in the Bitcoin ATM machines of the Coinme. Also, there will no facility of change and therefore users need to have the exact amount in cash. The other important this is that Coinstar will only let users to buy Bitcoin. It will not allow users to sell Bitcoin they already own for cash. On successful completion of the purchase, the user will get a voucher from the Coinstar kiosk. The voucher will have a code that can be redeemed at Coinme. With the help of a Coinme account, users will be able to access their Bitcoin. Those who are concerned about data privacy must note that they will have to provide their phone numbers to use the Coinstar kiosk. However, the company said that it doesn’t store the phone numbers of users or any other sensitive data.
Meanwhile, a Know Your Customer check will be carried out by Coinme to confirm the identities of users. For this, they need to provide a non-expired driver’s license or state UD. Users also need to confirm that they are above the age of 18 years. There are other companies too who are making it easier for people to buy cryptocurrency. For instance, PayPal started as service that allows customers to buy, hold and even sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal accounts. Despite cryptocurrencies make inroads, there is enough share of criticism. This is why China’s government has banned all transactions that involve cryptocurrency. An official of Bank of England has recently warned that lack of regulation can result in an economic crash.