A Bitcoin ATM (BTM) is a specialized kiosk that allows users to buy or sell Bitcoin using cash, credit, or debit cards. Unlike traditional ATMs, which are connected to a banking network and dispense fiat currency, BTMs are connected to the Bitcoin network and facilitate cryptocurrency transactions. There are two types of BTMs: unidirectional, which only offer buying options, and bidirectional, which allow both buying and selling of Bitcoin. BTMs are not linked to a user’s bank account but rather serve as internet-enabled interfaces for transactions with a specific exchange.
BTMs have spread globally, with a significant number located in the United States. They support various cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, alongside Bitcoin. Users can deposit money to purchase Bitcoin or sell Bitcoin for cash withdrawals. Transactions require entering or scanning a cryptocurrency wallet address, and the BTM handles conversion and transfer processes.
However, BTMs have been scrutinized for high transaction fees, sometimes reaching up to 20%, and are subject to regulatory oversight in many countries, including anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. In the U.S., for instance, users might need to provide personal information for transactions over a certain amount, as BTMs are regulated by FinCEN. Despite these challenges, BTMs represent a growing and accessible means for conducting Bitcoin transactions.