Cryptocurrencies are taking the world by storm.
From a fringe technological and financial innovation just a little over a decade ago, the phenomenon has become a major player on the world stage. This year, it’s estimated that the number of cryptocurrency users has surpassed 100 million.
And you might be surprised to learn that the world of virtual currencies isn’t just limited to the digital realm. There have been a number of ancillary real-world developments, including the appearance of Bitcoin ATMs around the world.
These innovative machines are changing the way people think about and transact with cryptocurrencies. So to help you out, we’ve assembled this informative primer on cryptocurrency ATMs.
Bitcoin ATMs: A Complete Guide
First of all, we need to get some in-house lingo out of the way.
If you’re new to the world of virtual currencies, you might have some questions. What is cryptocurrency, after all? And what is the blockchain that I keep hearing about?
In simple terms, a cryptocurrency is a digital exchange unit—money, in other words—that is decentralized, that isn’t backed by any government, and whose value is wholly determined by market forces.
A blockchain is a technology that enables the existence of a cryptocurrency. It’s a distributed, anonymous system that furnishes the computational heft to ensure the legitimacy of cryptocurrency transactions.
If all that sounds a little bewildering, you’re not alone. But the interest in Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ether, and many other digital currencies is growing by the day.
What Does a Bitcoin ATM Do?
This brings us to the growth of Bitcoin ATMs. With over 21,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the US alone, these machines will fuel the growth of cryptocurrency transactions.
A cryptocurrency ATM is very similar to a regular ATM. In a nutshell, it allows you to purchase Bitcoin (as well as a few other digital currencies), and some will allow you to sell and cash out Bitcoin as well. And you can learn more here about how to buy and sell gift cards using a Bitcoin ATM.
How to Use a Bitcoin ATM
To use one of these machines, you’ll have to have an account with the ATM operator, as well as a digital wallet to contain your cryptocurrency.
The first step is to verify your identity. Most often, this will involve entering your mobile number, and then entering the one-time passcode sent to your phone.
After that, you’re ready to make your transactions—you can either buy or sell Bitcoin. If you’re making a purchase, you’ll need to feed cash into the machine, as you would with any other ATM. An equivalent amount of Bitcoin (according to current market prices) will be entered into your wallet.
You can also sell Bitcoin from your digital wallet, and receive cash from the ATM. This usually takes somewhat longer, while the transaction is verified on the blockchain.
Get In the Game With a Bitcoin ATM
So that’s what Bitcoin ATMs are for, and that’s how you use them. They’re a fast and easy way to enter the cryptocurrency market, and that’s really their purpose—to increase the volume of Bitcoin transactions.
If you’re interested, find the nearest Bitcoin ATM near you and give it a try. And while you’re here, please check out the rest of our site for more great articles.