Among the newer digital methods of financial transactions, crypto currency has emerged as a popular choice. Based on blockchain technology, crypto transactions are fast, safe (as long as the users adhere to safety measures) and easy to handle. With time, cryptocurrency tech is also changing and it is no longer necessary to stick to a laptop or desktop to exchange fiat currency for this. As long as your chosen crypto currency is bitcoin, you can perform crypto transactions using Bitcoin ATMs too!

What is a Bitcoin ATM?

A Bitcoin ATM, alternatively called a BTM-lets you exchange traditional currency for Bitcoin-simply. It is a physical center which lets you buy bitcoins buy exchanging fiat money. You can insert cash or debit/credit card in the machine slot to buy bitcoin of corresponding value. Some of these BTMs let you sell the bitcoins in your crypto wallet as well. The first ever bitcoin ATM of the world was inaugurated in Vancouver Canada on October 29, 2013. Usually, a BTM is comprised of a cash dispenser, scanner and a PC. They resemble typical ATM kiosks in some cases and some of these models also support other popular crypto currencies like Litecoin and Ethereum.

Importance of the Bitcoin ATMs

You may wonder why a bitcoin ATM is required when you can buy Bitcoin using popular crypto exchanges like Coinbase! There are several crypto exchanges and buying and selling crypto currency using these platforms is possible for sure. However, these online crypto exchanges require you to undergo a lengthy sign up and verification process. On the contrary, the BTMs offer a quicker and more convenient way to sell and buy bitcoins in an anonymous manner. No KYC is needed to buy and sell bitcoins using BTMs.

However, in some regions-owing to stringent govt regulations the BTMs would require some form of id verification.

The working mechanism of Bitcoin ATMs

If you have never used a BTM- you may feel curious regarding its operation procedure. The BTMs dispense bitcoins to the buyer’s wallet using scanned QR code. The bitcoins can be sent to a paper wallet which is made and printed by the BTM. The price of buying depends on prevalent Bitcoin exchange rate. Typically, the users need to pay an additional percentage for using the service. The average fee charged buy a BTM is 8.93%.

The majority of BTMs let you buy bitcoins in exchange of cash. However, a few models work both ways and they dispense cash in exchange of bitcoin.

The pros and con of using bitcoin ATMs


  • It lets you buy and sell bitcoin in a fast , hassle free manner
  • You do not need a bank account to use a BTM.
  • Some BTMs let you operate without compromising anonymity


  • The transaction fees are quite high.
  • Locating a BTM can be tough and they are still scarce compared to typical bank ATMs.
  • There are limits for withdrawal and deposits.

How to locate a BTM

The number of Bitcoin ATMS is rowing with time. As of now, there are 5000 plus BTMS in the world-spread over 75 countries. The growth rate is significant as it was barely a 1000 a few years back. Most of the BTMs are located in the USA. You can use a number of online tools to locate a nearby BTM. One such example is Coin ATM Radar. This tool not only helps you in locating nearby BTMs but also offers you relevant details on these BTMs.

How to use a BTM?

Not every BTM operates in the same procedure and some may require you to perform a few more steps for making transactions.  The buying process is quite similar.

  1. You need to choose the option Buy Bitcoin and scan the QR code using the BTM scanner.
  2.  Based on region, you may have to provide some sort of id proof. The id verification can be done through scanning passport or by sending an OTP to a valid phone number.
  3. Then enter the desired amount.
  4. Insert cash to the BTM and wait for processing. Most machines require inserting fiat money-one by one and not in bulk.
  5. Now, check the Bitcoin wallet for confirmation of transaction.

The process for selling your existing bitcoin to a BTM can be diverse based on which model you use. However, you will just have to follow the on screen guidelines to execute the process.

The top Bitcoin ATMs

Nowadays, you can find BTMs made by several companies and each has a number of models.

  • General Bytes- A Czech Prague Republic based company, General Bytes is the biggest Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency ATM manufacturer. It has so far sold more than 2500 BTMS in more than 60 countries. These devices support more than 120 fiat currencies and 60 different cryptocurrencies. It sells BATMTWO- a wall mount model for only buying crypto currencies and BATMTHREE- a fully mounted BTM with display that offers both selling and buying.
  • Genesis Coin- San Diego based Genesis Coin Inc is another popular BTM manufacturer. It sells 3 models- : Genesis1, Satoshi1, and Finney3. The Genesis1 is the costliest device.
  • Lamassu- Switzerland based Lamassu is a leader in making bitcoin ATM devices. In fact, it’s the oldest manufacturer of BTMs. Lamassu machines support plenty of crypto currencies. Lamassu sells 4 models- Gaia, Sintra, Sintra Forte and Douro II.
  • Bitaccess- Bitaccess is based in Onatario –Canada and it is a new entrant in this sector. They have released 2 BTM devices- BTM SE and BTM C.

Summing it up

There are some major advantages of using bitcoin ATMs and there are a few drawbacks too. Operating these BTMs is easy and the on screen instructions have to be followed properly to sell or buy bitcoins. The id verification process also does not take much time. It can be beneficial to travelers who are weary of the steep fees charged by traditional currency exchanges. However, these BTMs can still be hard to locate and the transaction charges can be steep for a section of users.

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