How did you first hear about bitcoin? Maybe you saw a story on the news and did some research. Perhaps a friend or family member told you about it, and you were intrigued. You might have even seen a bitcoin ATM in your local mall or grocery store and decided to check it out.
No matter how you heard about bitcoin, you probably realize by now that bitcoin is here to stay. However, the steps involved in making your first purchase can appear to be daunting. But don’t worry!
In this blog post, we will explain the basics of bitcoin ATMs and kiosks and help you find your nearest kiosk. Most of all, we will give you the confidence to make your bitcoin purchase and join the financial system of the future!
What is a Bitcoin ATM?
Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks are much like the standard ATMs you see every day. When you deposit cash into a traditional ATM, you enter your debit card first to access your account. Once you have finished depositing money into the ATM (minus any transaction fees) it’s credited into your bank account.
Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks work very much the same way with a few simple differences. Instead of a debit card, you typically scan or show your government-issued ID or enter your phone number, so the ATM or kiosk can verify where to send the bitcoin. Much like a traditional ATM, you will insert cash bills into the machine, but instead of depositing U.S dollars, it automatically exchanges that money for the equivalent amount of bitcoin.
When using a bitcoin ATM, like a Coinme for example, you will receive a deposit of bitcoin directly into your digital wallet (which operates much like your bank account, but for storing digital currency like bitcoin.) When you are using a Bitcoin kiosk, such as a Coinstar kiosk powered by Coinme, you receive a redemption code on your receipt that you must enter online later to receive your bitcoin.
Some Bitcoin ATMs also offer two-way functionality which allows for you to do the same transaction in reverse: Withdraw bitcoin that is immediately exchanged into US dollars that are then dispensed from that ATM.
How Do I Use a Bitcoin ATM?
Using a bitcoin ATM or kiosk is quite simple and often offers the easiest and most secure way to purchase bitcoin for cash. The screen itself typically provides a step-by-step tutorial, but for this article, we will show you how simple it is using a Coinstar kiosk, powered by Coinme.
When you approach the kiosk, you simple hit get started and select the option that says “Buy Bitcoin. After you review the brief terms and conditions, you are directed to enter your phone number. This part of the process ensures your security and links your phone number to the bitcoin purchase so no one else can gain access to your bitcoin.
After that is complete, you will see on the screen the exchange rate for your bitcoin purchase, and you can then enter your dollar bills into the bill acceptor. Typically this is down and to the right of the screen. Once you have inserted all your bills, you can verify the amount entered and hit the buy bitcoin button on the lower, right-hand side of the screen.
Once you have finished your purchase, the kiosk will print out your receipt. This is important to keep safe and secure, as it does include your bitcoin redemption code. As we mentioned above, you will need to visit Coinme.com/redeem and enter that code along with your phone number to have your bitcoin deposited into your digital wallet.
What Do I Do Next?
After you have finished purchasing your bitcoin, the process of redeeming the voucher is simple as well. Once you have your receipt, you can visit Coinme.com/redeem and begin the redemption process.
After you have entered in the needed information, you will be directed to create your very own Coinme wallet. Follow the step-by-step guide on your laptop or cell phone. The entire process is simple, secure, and should only take a few moments. After that process is complete, you will be able to see your bitcoin balance in your Coinme wallet.
If you are already a Coinme customer, log in to your Coinme Wallet and click on the tab that says “Redeem.” Enter your phone number and the redemption code you received at the kiosk. You can then return to the main account page, and your balance will reflect the purchase you just made.
Is a Bitcoin ATM Safe?
While this does vary based on the company operating the machine, customer safety is a primary area of focus for Coinme. We take multiple steps to ensure the security of your account including ATM and kiosk locations and service and support from our team.
We have a dedicated team of developers and engineers continually looking at all aspects of machine security, providing a safe and secure user experience for all of our customers. Our support team is also available Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm PT.
We also ensure our ATMs and kiosks are in well-lit, public spaces like shopping malls and grocery stores, providing a safe and secure user experience for everyone.
Are Bitcoin ATMs Legal?
Bitcoin ATMs are legal to use, however, there are levels of regulations on both the federal and state level for ATM and kiosk companies to operate legally in the United States.
The primary federal law is Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and operators like Coinme need to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN and have Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) programs in place. State-level regulation varies from state to state, but typically, operators must register for money transmitter license (MTL) or as a money service business (MSB).
Coinme is proud to have been the first licensed Bitcoin ATM company in the United States and as part of our commitment to safety and security, all customers must submit their ID’s through our KYC verification process. The purpose of this program is to help prevent money laundering and other financial crimes and it adds an extra layer of security by ensuring no one but you can gain access to your account.
How Do I Find a Bitcoin ATM?
Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks have grown in popularity in recent years, making it easier than ever to find a location close to you. While there are websites like CoinATMRadar that show you ATMs based on your location, not all ATMs and kiosks listed are licensed and operating legally.
Coinme is the first licensed Bitcoin ATM company in the United States and thanks to our collaboration with Coinstar we now operate the largest bitcoin kiosk network in the United States with over 2,500 locations across 21 states and the District of Columbia.
To find the nearest location to you, visit Coinme.com/Locations and enter your location into the search bar. You will find the closest location to you and can even click further to receive detailed directions via Google Maps.
You now hopefully have the knowledge and confidence to make your first purchase at a bitcoin ATM or kiosk! Hopefully, you will share your knowledge with others so everyone so your friends and family will also be able to join the financial system of the future safely and securely.
This article originally appeared on coinme.com