Bitcoin ATMs are an excellent way to purchase your first bitcoin holding. As the name suggests, Bitcoin ATMs function in a similar fashion as automated teller machines provided by banks. The main difference, however, is that Bitcoin ATMs give out bitcoin instead of dollars (or other sovereign currencies).
In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how you can make your first bitcoin purchasing using a Bitcoin ATM.
1. Find a BTM Near You
Bitcoin ATMs – also known as Bitcoin teller Machines (BTMs) or Bitcoin kiosks – are usually located in cafés, bars, or shops whose owners are open to this new financial innovation. However, each city only has a limited about of Bitcoin ATMs, which means you won’t find one at every corner.
Fortunately, there are a handful of resources you can use to find the nearest Bitcoin ATM to you. Arguably, the most popular Bitcoin ATM finder is CoinATMRadar, but you can also use sites such as Coin ATM Finder or Bitcoin ATM Map to help you locate a machine near you.
2. Open a Bitcoin Wallet in Your Phone
Before visiting your local Bitcoin ATM, you first need to download and set up a mobile wallet on your smartphone.
There are dozens of bitcoin mobile wallets to choose from. One of the easiest to get started with is Blockchain Wallet, which is available for both iPhone and Android, and also comes with a web version.
To create a wallet, download the app, register using an email and password, and that’s it!
3. Buy Bitcoin at the Bitcoin ATM
Now that you have set up a bitcoin wallet on your phone and have located a BTM near you, you can buy your first bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM.
The buying process varies slightly from BTM to BTM but, generally, to process works as follows:
- Access the BTM dashboard
- Type in the amount of bitcoin you want to purchase
- Enter the cash amount into the BTM
- Scan your wallet’s QR code to receive the bitcoin
- Wait for the transaction to confirm
- Receive the coins in your wallet to complete the transaction
4. A Real-Life Example of a Bitcoin Purchase at a BTM
To illustrate a real-life purchase, BlockSocial has purchased 20 euros worth of bitcoin at a Bitcoin ATM of the model Lamassu during a trip to Europe.
To buy bitcoin at a Lamassu Bitcoin ATM, first, you click on the screen and push the ‘Buy Bitcoin’ button in the center of the dashboard.
Next, you scan your bitcoin wallet’s address via the QR code that your wallet app provides. That is how the ATM knows which bitcoin wallet to send the BTC to once the transaction has been completed.
Next, you input the notes for the amount of bitcoin you want to purchase. In this case, we purchased 20 euros worth of BTC.
Once the BTM has received the notes, it will automatically send the bitcoin to your wallet.
The final step will be the transaction confirmation that the Bitcoin ATM will show you. At this point, you either have to wait for a few more minutes to receive your coins, or they are already in your wallet. That depends on the amount of activity on the Bitcoin network at the time of the purchase.
And there you go! Now you have purchased your first bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM.
Additionally, Bitcoin ATMs can also be used to cash out your bitcoin investments. However, not all BTMs are two-way. So, make sure you check whether your local Bitcoin ATM can process buy and sell orders if you are planning to cash you.
While Bitcoin ATMs are probably the easiest way to get your hands on bitcoin, it is important to note that BTM fees can be quite high. Therefore, if you are planning on purchasing a large amount of bitcoin, you are better off going through a reputable exchange that charges lower fees to make your purchase.