The term Bitcoin ATM is very obvious and here I will explain how you can use it in a few easy steps.
First of all, the point of DeFi is in evolving from fiat money to digital currencies, but sometimes we just need the services like this, to buy Bitcoin or altcoins with money for the first time, to lower the DCA (Dollar Cost Average) buying price in case our coin price has dropped, or maybe to invest more fiat money in crypto. Whatever reason you have to do this, there are only a few ways from this spot. One is to use some DEX or CEX, to buy coins directly in P2P transactions, or to use some crypto ATM device which will be our today’s topic.
The Bitcoin ATMs
Crypto ATMs are essentially bank ATMs with dedicated software that offers buying or selling crypto instead of pulling fiat money from a bank account. There are two main types of these machines, Unidirectional and Bidirectional ones. As its name says, with a Unidirectional you can do one-direction transactions, either buy or sell coins. The Bidirectional machines are more interesting because they offer full-scale services and you don’t need to bother does it do Onramp or Offramp transactions, you just go there for whatever type of transaction you need.
The biggest crypto ATM operators in the world are Bitcoin Depot with almost 7000 ATMs, Coin Cloud with 5000 ATMs, CoinFlip with 4000, and there are dozens of smaller companies operating worldwide. Of course, these numbers are going to grow over time as the ATMs network is expanding and evolving.
Five easy steps for using Bitcoin ATMs
Prepare your wallet
To use any Bitcoin ATM device, you will need to have a crypto wallet. There are several solid wallets but only two major groups: software wallets and hardware wallets. You can find out more about them in this article we made earlier. As you can presume, hardware wallets are much safer, but they bring the additional cost of purchasing them.
After choosing and acquiring the BTC wallet, you need to write down an alphanumeric code for your wallet or download a QR code for quicker access. I would suggest you use a QR code because the address is case-sensitive, with all the numbers and letters and it can be difficult to type it all without making an error.
Location and type of services of crypto ATMs
Once you have your wallet address ready, you need to choose the Bitcoin ATM that fits your location and movement plans. Here you can find a map of ATMs worldwide, although the majority of them are in the US, we all hope this will change soon. Before you begin your journey, get information about the services this particular machine offers.
The most important questions are, is it offering Unidirectional or Bidirectional transactions, does it accept paper money only or debit cards also, and is it in an open area with 24/7 accessibility or in some shopping mall or other location with limited accessibility? This will determine your next steps, to proceed with this location, or you have to pick another ATM that fits your needs.
When all of the preparations are finished and you finally arrive at the Bitcoin ATM address, you will be asked to comply with several regulations like KYC (identity verification), AML (anti-money laundering), BSA (Bank Secrecy Act), etc. Here you can see there is no secrecy and every transaction will be recorded under your name, with the exception of some small amount of ATMs in countries that allow transactions under 900$ without full identity confirmation with biometric ID or other documents, but only putting your name and a phone number.
Now when you are ready to buy Bitcoins at an ATM and you select the number of coins you want to buy, you will be asked to provide the wallet address you prepared earlier and to make payment, either with paper money or a debit card. When all the steps are finished, you will get a receipt and the transaction will be done in a matter of several minutes.
If you need to sell crypto, the procedure is similar, with the difference of you sending coins to their address from your wallet, which is a bit complicated but not too hard. These machines are very intuitive and you need to follow all the directions, step by step to complete the operation. Some Bitcoin ATMs will payout immediately after you confirm the transactions, while the other ones will wait for a transaction to be completed and coins to be safely deposited in their wallet.
Should you use crypto ATMs?
Using Bitcoin ATMs is very convenient for users with a middle level of technological knowledge, but it is also one of the most expensive transaction options. We all hope the fees for using these ATMs will drop over time, but we need to acknowledge the fact that their services will always be more expensive than exchanges trading. The reason for this lies in the fact that these expensive machines have huge costs of filling, cleaning, maintaining, and installing them in place, and they just can’t be as cheap to use as some web services.
For those who are more educated in crypto, there are always cheaper options on centralized exchanges like Binance, Kucoin, and Coinbase, or decentralized ones like Uniswap and PancakeSwap. Choosing an exchange that fits your needs best is paramount. The centralized exchanges are more user-friendly but with a much greater risk of losing your funds because your assets are in other people’s hands, while decentralized exchanges are not so intuitive and easy to use but your keys and your coins are staying safe all the time in your hands.
There are some pros and cons in using crypto ATMs and we all know this is still a young crypto field, with so many points of improvement to be made in the future. One of the most important pros is that you don’t need to be some crypto guru to be able to buy or sell your coin on the ATM, but the most important con you need to bear in mind is that all transactions on the blockchain are permanent and irreversible, without any possibility of correction after the transaction is confirmed. Stay safe out there, and take care of your crypto.