How do bitcoin atms work?

Bitcoin Atm Significantly have higher fees and charge more for bitcoin. Why would I withdraw or buy from the atm when i can just tranfer from app to bank for less ? Serious answers

After you insert the amount of cash you want to exchange for Bitcoin into the ATM, you can enter your wallet’s address or QR code into the machine. The cash will then be exchanged for Bitcoin at the current market rate and sent to your digital wallet.

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Understanding Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs, sometimes referred to as BTMs, are kiosks where customers can buy and sometimes sell Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin ATMs are owned and operated by third-party companies — the two largest networks are Coinhub and Coinme.

To use a Bitcoin ATM, customers can simply insert cash or a debit card to exchange their traditional currency for Bitcoin currency. While Bitcoin ATMs are generally accessible to everyone, they may require that the customer have an existing account with the Bitcoin ATM operator.

Cryptocurrency (including Bitcoin) isn’t connected to a bank account and is entirely virtual, utilizing blockchain technology. That means that when currency is exchanged at a Bitcoin ATM, it does not appear in a bank account or as cash, but rather it is transferred into a separate, digital Bitcoin wallet.

Bitcoin ATMs can be located using the Bitcoin website.

Benefits and Risks of Bitcoin ATMs


  • Ease of Access: Because cryptocurrency isn’t tied to a central system, anyone can buy or trade it, regardless of whether they have a bank account. The widespread availability of Bitcoin ATMs make it easy to buy (or sell) Bitcoin by trading in cash.
  • Privacy: Bitcoin ATMs often don’t involve sharing your personal information, though in some cases they require you to scan an ID before completing a transaction.
  • Ability to Sell Bitcoin: Some Bitcoin ATMs come with bi-directional functionality, so customers can also use them to sell Bitcoin.


  • Lack of Cryptocurrency Options: Typically, Bitcoin ATMs only allow you to trade cash in for Bitcoin. If you’re looking to buy other types of cryptocurrency, you’ll likely need to go to an online crypto exchange.
  • Frequent Target for Scams: One of the downsides to the anonymity and accessibility of Bitcoin ATMs is that they can easily be taken advantage of by scammers and fraudsters.
  • Lack of Protection: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t regulated by the federal government, meaning they’re not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to protect against theft or loss of funds.

Bitcoin ATM Fees

Bitcoin ATMs have garnered criticism for charging high transaction fees. Bitcoin Depot ATMs, for instance, may charge up to 20 percent in exchange fees without disclosing the total cost to customers. In contrast, online cryptocurrency exchanges typically have transaction fees of less than 1 percent.

In addition to transaction fees, some Bitcoin ATM operators may charge a variable miner fee to pay Bitcoin miners who validate transactions. Before using a Bitcoin ATM, it’s essential to research potential fees and look for the lowest ones.

How to Use a Bitcoin ATM

All Bitcoin ATMs enable users to purchase Bitcoin by exchanging traditional currency for it. You’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet to store the Bitcoin, as it isn’t tied to a bank account. Once you insert the desired cash amount into the ATM, you can enter your wallet’s address or QR code into the machine, and the Bitcoin will be exchanged at the current market rate and sent to your digital wallet.

Some Bitcoin ATMs are bidirectional, allowing users to both purchase and sell Bitcoin. In the latter case, you can enter the amount of Bitcoin you’d like to exchange for cash and collect the cash or have it deposited onto your debit card.

Bitcoin ATMs can also be used to send Bitcoin to another person. Instead of entering your crypto wallet address, you enter the recipient’s wallet address, and the purchased Bitcoin will be deposited into their wallet.

In some cases, and depending on the purchase amount, you may need to provide a form of ID by scanning or taking a picture of it at the machine before completing the currency exchange.

When you put your cash into the Bitcoin ATM, you can then enter your Bitcoin wallet address or scan its QR code. The machine will convert the cash to Bitcoin based on the current market price and send it to your digital wallet.