In October 2021, Walmart, the largest U.S. company by revenue, announced it would host Bitcoin ATMs in 200 of its 4,700 supermarkets. Given Walmart’s size and customer base, this is causing huge ripples in the crypto world, but if you’re someone who isn’t even sure what a Bitcoin ATM is, we’re here to help explain what they do, how they work and why You may see more of them pop up.
The word ATM is a lingua franca that you can understand in almost any country on the planet. They are machines connected to the banking system that allow you to withdraw cash from your account.
ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine, and it doesn’t do a great job of explaining what it does. Teller is an American term for a person who works in a retail bank and handles deposits and withdrawals in person. So an ATM is just a machine that does this 24/7.
Given that Bitcoin is a digital currency with no physical form and no central authority, the machines at Walmart and elsewhere in the world function differently than the ATMs you’re used to.
In fact, a better way to describe them is a crypto exchange kiosk, although it can’t match the instant identification provided by the ATM acronym.