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Besides wire transfers, credit cards and platforms like LocalBitcoins, there is another way to acquire cryptocurrencies that mirrors a very common object in our lives, ATMs.
What are Bitcoin ATMs?
The first known Bitcoin ATM was installed in a cafe in Vancouver back in 2014. This and subsequent machines are not technically ATMs as we know them, which allow us to withdraw hard currency from our bank accounts. Instead, they work as localized instant Fiat to Crypto exchanges. Users can purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and others, using Fiat, in cash, or to access their crypto wallets and exchange their digital currencies for Dollars, Euros or other currencies, withdrawing them on the spot.
How to use Bitcoin ATMs and convert cryptocurrencies to cash
Using a Bitcoin ATM is fairly straightforward. After choosing the “buy Bitcoin” option, the user provides the machine with a wallet address or scans a QR code, inserts the cash and confirms the transaction. Bitcoin is automatically transferred to the users wallet. The “Selling Bitcoin” option is pretty much the reverse process.
Transaction fees vary widely from country to country and operator to operator, as do the ways of interacting with the machine.
Generally, Bitcoin ATMs do not demand any form of identification to perform transactions, which makes them a great way of purchasing cryptos in a completely anonymous way. Unfortunately, this has made them a great tool for people trying to hide funds from authorities or launder illicit gains. To face this issue authorities in Canada and the United States have imposed strict demands for “Know Your Costumer” (KYC) rules and transaction limitations to try to put a hold on illegal activities using these machines. China’s ban on ICO’s and exchanges also extended to the country’s only Bitcoin ATM, which now lies disconnected.
Where to find Bitcoin ATMs
Tighter regulation has not stopped the strong expansion of the Crypto ATM network around the world and you can probably find a Bitcoin ATM not very far from you. Today, according to coinatmradar, there are 3432 Bitcoin ATMs installed in 72 different countries.