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The Working Process of a Bitcoin ATM

By William Woods

There has been a lot of talk about Bitcoin in the last few years. This cryptocurrency – a form of currency that exists entirely online and is not tied to any government or legal authority – is reshaping the way people think about money. If you're like many of today's young adults, you may already have your own supply of Bitcoin – or want some, anyway. If that's the case, consider stopping by your nearest Bitcoin ATM machine to fill your digital pockets!

What Exactly is a Bitcoin ATM?

Bitcoin ATM machines are actually somewhat different than traditional money transfer devices. Rather than simply allowing you to access your own stash of cash, Bitcoin teller machines – or BTMs – allow users to buy and in some cases sell Bitcoin. Consumers can exchange fiat money - money their government has designated as legal tender, such as the US dollar – to purchase a given amount of Bitcoin through these machines. This is a simple, straightforward way for those without other means of access to Bitcoin to invest in it.

How Do Bitcoin ATMs Work?

Typically, a BTM works very much the same way that a traditional ATM does. You will need to provide security codes or passwords to access the application, and you are likely to need your identification. This is for protection of both your identity and your Bitcoin supply. Remember, Bitcoin is money, and no one likes to play fast and loose with their accounts!

Here's where it gets confusing for some people, but don't worry – buying and using Bitcoin isn't as tricky as it may seem! When you purchase Bitcoin from a BTM machine, you enter the amount of money you have to exchange, then insert that money into the designated slot. So, if you have a thousand US dollars, you would enter the amount, then slide your bills into the slot when prompted. After your transaction is complete, you may be given options for how to access your Bitcoin money, or the machine may have only a single option. These may include:

  • Emailing you the Bitcoin amount you have purchased for later "deposit" into your virtual wallet.
  • Sending your Bitcoin amount directly to an existing digital account.
  • Giving you a printed receipt that can be used to access your virtual wallet.


Often when you are using a BTM for the first time, you will be given one of these printed receipts with a scannable QR code to help you in setting up your virtual wallet. Some people prefer these slips of paper, as they feel a bit more like using fiat money than purely digital currency. How you use your Bitcoin is up to you!

Where Can I Find a BTM?

To find your nearest Bitcoin ATM machine, visit one of today's many websites specializing in local BTM location. None near you? Be the change you wish to see in the world of cryptocurrency! If you're interested in bringing a bitcoin ATM to your own place of business or public venue, consider contacting your ATM merchant and requesting information about Bitcoin ATM pricing.

Related Read: What is the cost to lease an ATM?

Though the number of BTMs pales in comparison to that of traditional ATMs, this may not always be the case. With the increasing popularity and value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It's only a matter of time before these machines are on every corner!

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