- Walmart has started a pilot program to bring bitcoin purchasing capabilities to Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores.
- The pilot is part of a broader partnership between Coinstar and Coinme to offer BTC at over 8,000 kiosks, 200 of which are in Walmart stores.
- “Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people…and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics,” brokerage firm BitOoda CSO Sam Doctor said.
Walmart has started a pilot program to bring bitcoin purchasing capabilities to 200 Coinstar kiosks in some of the retailer’s U.S. stores, Bloomberg reported. The initiative is part of a broader cooperation between Coinstar, the maker of machines that allows customers to exchange coins for paper bills or gift cards, and cash-to-bitcoin exchange Coinme to offer BTC at more than 8,000 kiosks in the U.S.
“Bitcoin ATMs have been around for a while, including in many supermarkets,” Sam Doctor, chief strategy officer and head of research at cryptocurrency brokerage firm BitOoda, told Bloomberg. “Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot.”
The initiative was first reported by CoinDesk, which tested the service. Customers purchasing BTC insert dollar bills into the Coinstar kiosk and receive a voucher, which can be redeemed for bitcoin minus a 4% fee charged by the machine. But customers need to set up a Coinme account and pass a background check to redeem the voucher.
“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin,” Walmart communications director Molly Blakeman told CoinDesk via email. “There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.”
“It is an expensive way to buy Bitcoin, but lowers the barriers to entry for first-time buyers,” Doctor added.