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What Exactly Are Bitcoin ATMs, and How Do They Work?

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There’s no doubt that Bitcoin is a household name these days. However, most people barely know what Bitcoin ATMs are or have even heard of them before. You’re therefore not alone if the term “Bitcoin ATM” gets you confused every time you read it or hear it from someone else.

Well, this article is a handy guide for anyone looking to learn about Bitcoin ATMs. It will look at what these ‘magical’ machines are and how they work. By the end of it, you should be able to walk to a Bitcoin ATM, send or withdraw cash, and do many other transactions.

Here’s what you should know about Bitcoin ATMs and how they work.

Understanding Bitcoin ATMs

So, what do we mean by Bitcoin ATMs? These are machines that facilitate the buying and selling of bitcoins for cash. They work more or less like brick-and-mortar versions of cryptocurrency exchanges. Bitcoin ATMs also look like regular ATMs but work differently. 

You can walk to a Bitcoin ATM with your fiat currency and use it to buy bitcoins. Or, you can buy them with a debit or credit card at a Bitcoin ATM. Some Bitcoin ATMs also allow users to pay with Bitcoin and withdraw fiat currency. This might not be very common, though.

Well, in short, Bitcoin ATMs are meant to simplify work. They may be the best to use if you want to buy bitcoin online or withdraw cash. The fact that they also accept credit and debit cards instantly makes buying and selling Bitcoin efficient and convenient.

You only need to ensure that you have a valid mobile wallet and card. It takes a few minutes to transact using a Bitcoin Visa card Canada. Quick ID verification will be done to ascertain ownership. The rest will be reviewing the terms and conditions before starting to purchase.

Therefore, you can buy or sell Bitcoin online almost instantly with Bitcoin ATMs. You can start by finding the closest Bitcoin ATM to you and giving it a try. These ATMs are quite easy to use. So, you only need to transact once to learn how they work, and the rest will be a breeze.

How Bitcoin ATMs Came to Be

Bitcoin ATMs have a brief but rich history. The first ever Bitcoin ATM was installed in 2013 in Vancouver, Canada. It allowed users to exchange their Canadian dollars for bitcoins. The efficiency and convenience that this ATM brought about led to an increase in their number.

Soon, there were more Bitcoin ATMs in Canada, and more were installed in cities across the world. As of November 2022, the number of Bitcoin ATMs across the globe is said to be over 39,000. The majority of them are spread across cities in Europe, North America and Asia.

How do Bitcoin ATMs Work?

Bitcoin ATMs work on an exchange model, just like stock exchanges. At a Bitcoin ATM, you can exchange your bitcoin for cash or vice versa. You need a Bitcoin wallet, and you should also find the closest Bitcoin ATM to start. Once you find one, insert your fiat currency.

The ATM will then provide steps to follow on a touchscreen. If it offers more than one crypto, then it’ll ask you to select. You can choose Bitcoin and how much you want to transact by clicking on the touchscreen. The transaction costs will depend on the current market rates.

Types of Bitcoin ATMs

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There are two major types of Bitcoin ATMs that you can use. There’s the one-way Bitcoin ATM, and there’s the two-way Bitcoin ATM. The one-way ATM allows you to only buy Bitcoin online. On the other hand, the two-way Bitcoin ATM allows you to buy and sell bitcoin online.

Pros and Cons of Bitcoin ATMs

There are various pros and cons to using Bitcoin ATMs. Knowing why Bitcoin ATMs can benefit you and the disadvantages that come with them can be helpful. This section will look at the pros and cons to help you decide if Bitcoin ATMs are worth using.

Here are the pros of using Bitcoin ATMs:

  • They are quick and easy to use for both buying and selling bitcoin.
  • They are convenient and available.
  • They are private and safe.

And here are the cons:

  • Transaction costs can sometimes be expensive.
  • The machines can sometimes malfunction.
  • They are mostly in big cities, so finding one near you can be a challenge.

How to Use Bitcoin ATMs

Using a Bitcoin ATM, even for the first time, is quite simple. The first step should be to locate the closest Bitcoin ATM to you. After that, you can decide whether you want to buy or sell bitcoin. The machine takes the instructions and allows you to insert cash.

You need to have a mobile wallet and a wallet address where your bitcoin will be sent. Then, go ahead and confirm the transaction and collect your cash or Bitcoin. These steps aren’t much different when it comes to sending someone bitcoin or even withdrawing bitcoin.

Where Can I Find Bitcoin ATMs Throughout the World

We already mentioned Bitcoin ATM availability as a limitation to using these machines. Well, the reality is that these ATMs aren’t very widely available in the world. You can find them in cities across Europe, North America, and Asia, meaning you might have to travel to use one.

You can use online resources to find an ATM near you. There are online radars that will help you locate the closest ATM to your location. You can filter the ATMs according to the type of Bitcoin ATM you need, the transaction you’d like to make, or any other available filters.

Bottom Line: The Future of Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs can be helpful in a wide range of ways. If you are looking to buy or sell bitcoin, then you need to consider using them. We have explored most of what you needed to know about these ATMs. They are among the safest options to consider when doing transactions.

Noor is a Columnist at Disrupt Magazine. He specializes in writing on trendy topics of crypto, business, finance as well as tech. He has been featured in Techbullion.com, Vizaca.com.

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