There are many ways to buy cryptocurrency online, but what if you’re sitting on a pile of cash that you want to convert instantly? You can go the great route – deposit cash at your local bank, sign up with an exchange, complete identity verification, fund your account, wait for it to appear on the exchange transaction and finally perform the swap. However, that’s a lot of steps, right? Wouldn’t it be great if there was some magical vending machine that spits out Bitcoins in exchange for your dirty fiat bills? Good news! That machine is called a Bitcoin ATM and in this guide we will show you how to use it.
Most methods of buying Bitcoin online will link your personal information to the purchase – from exchanges that are KYC/AML compliant to credit card/bank account details used to make purchases. pay.
Using a Bitcoin ATM is one of the easiest ways to buy Bitcoin (BTC) anonymously. In this guide, we will walk through the procedure to buy Bitcoin with cash at a physical ATM, documenting the steps before, during, and after the purchase.
What is a Bitcoin ATM?
Bitcoin ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) are functionally similar to the ATMs commonly used to deposit cash into bank accounts. A regular ATM will take your cash, then update your bank balance with an IOU that you can use to pay others.
With a Bitcoin ATM, your cash is exchanged for Bitcoin, deposited directly into your own Bitcoin wallet. You can also regularly purchase selected altcoins at Bitcoin ATMs and some stores will also include the option to sell your crypto for cash!
First things first! We will need to set up a wallet to receive purchased Bitcoins. There are several wallets available on Android and iOS devices. We will be using Trust Wallet in this guide, but the steps will be similar for other wallets.
In the wallet application, we will need to define a public address. Most apps will display this information if you tap the “Get” button. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using a QR code. If you are using a wallet that supports multiple cryptocurrencies, make sure you have a public address that corresponds to the currency you are buying (BTC in this guide).
Next, we need to locate a Bitcoin ATM, as we need to physically move to the ATM. There is a handy interactive tool at coinatmradar.com, which will help us locate ATMs. Enter your preferred location in the search field to show machines in the local area.
Clicking on any pin will display information about the ATM’s location and supported currencies. If we click on “View details”, we can see a price feed, fee schedule, operator details and most importantly ratings from other users.
We’ll want to choose an ATM that has a good recent rating, shows the owner’s contact details, and provides a price feed and fee schedule. Fake machines exist, so this data gives us some confidence in their authenticity.
Buy your coins at a Bitcoin ATM
We are now facing a Bitcoin ATM, armed with our mobile wallet in one hand and some cash in the other. Before you start pressing the buttons, you should take a close look at the machine to see how it works. All machines will differ slightly in layout (and aesthetics), but the basic functionality will be the same. In this guide, we will cover the machine in the picture above.
On the right hand side, there is a touch screen showing how to complete a Bitcoin purchase or sale. It shows the current price the machine is offering to the exchange (about 9,100 €) if you want to sell Bitcoin and ~ 9,900 € if you want to buy. (Note: A quick check on the coinmarketcap.com website revealed the aggregate market price of Bitcoin to be around €9,600 – the price difference is how ATM operators make money).
Along the left hand side are slots for sending and collecting fiat money, a receipt printer, and a QR reader for entering addresses.
Using the touchscreen, select the “Buy” option (note that we want BTC, not altcoins) by touching the right side (Buy side) of the screen. Different ATM models will have a different method for choosing this option, but this is a rather aesthetic distinction, so the “Buy Bitcoin” option should be pretty obvious.
- Scan the Bitcoin receiving address in your wallet using the ATM’s QR reader to tell the machine where to send the purchased Bitcoins.
- Check that the alphanumeric address displayed by the machine is identical to the one displayed by your wallet application.
- Put your cash in the deposit slot.
- Set the mining fee you want to pay for the transaction to be included in a block (note: not all ATMs have this feature). The higher the fee, the sooner it is confirmed.
- Close the transaction by accepting the purchase.
- Bring the receipt in case of any problems.
This sends the transaction to the Bitcoin network, which ends up transferring BTC to your wallet. Note that Bitcoin will not appear immediately in your wallet – it needs to be added to a block first. Generally, six confirmations are required before a transaction can be considered “final”. For the Bitcoin network, the only confirmation time is ten minutes.
Once purchased, you can track the progress of your transaction using a block explorer for Bitcoin (such as Blockchain.com) with the receiving address or transaction ID as your search term. Depending on your wallet app, you will see the deposit amount in your wallet balance after 5-15 confirmations.
There must be at least one confirmation within the first hour. If there is nothing after a few hours, you should immediately contact the ATM owner to see if there is a good technical reason for the delay.
Bitcoin ATMs provide consumers with a simple method to buy Bitcoin with cash. As a bonus, purchased Bitcoins will not be tied to your personal identity through the use of bank transfers or credit cards.
ATM vendors typically charge the difference between the offered Buy/Ask price against the current market price of Bitcoin in the same manner as Forex providers. An online tool like coinatmradar.com helps in finding a reliable ATM with an acceptable fee schedule.