Bitcoin ATMs are among the most exciting and useful hardware developments that the crypto industry has ever seen. The ability to physically convert fiat (or legal tender) into crypto, and vice versa, is such an instrumental aspect of worldwide adoption. However, when most people think of Bitcoin, they don't really consider ATMs a viable option, but this is wrong. Bitcoin ATMs are available worldwide, and their availability has more than doubled compared to the last year. If you are in Europe, then there is a good chance there is one near you!
How does a Bitcoin ATM work? Bitcoin ATMs allow users to buy BTC (and often other cryptos) immediately and physically with fiat cash. Many Bitcoin ATM companies also allow for the selling of BTC in exchange for fiat cash. They bridge the gap between computerization and physical tender. Some might ask, "are bitcoin ATMs safe?", the general answer to this is yes, but you should always research the specific ATM that you're considering using before actually making a trade, as not all ATMs are made by the same company.
How do I find a Bitcoin ATM near me? Your first port of call for locating Bitcoin ATMs should be to visit Coin ATM Radar, a project which tracks all official crypto ATMs. Here you will find 15,870 ATMs spanning 71 countries, with 1,225 of those located in Europe alone. You can also find ATMs for other popular cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and XRP. If you live near (or are in) a city, then there is a good chance that one of these ATMs is within a reasonable distance, and some ATMs can even be found in rural areas.
Pros and Cons The most significant upside of using these ATMs is that they allow for immediate trades. Sometimes BTC users may decide that they need to convert some of their holdings into fiat, and if you are outside and away from your computer, then an ATM is the most efficient option for doing this. Considering the sheer speed and volatility of the crypto market, sometimes waiting to get home to trade isn't an option, and if an ATM is within a reasonable distance, then it is by-and-large the better option. They also require minimal identifying information from their users, compared to centralized exchanges, which often ask for a copy of your ID; however, that may change in the future as there are calls for stronger regulation on these machines.
On the flip-side, Bitcoin ATM companies often have higher transaction fees than electronic, virtual exchanges. This is because they know many people will pay a premium for the immediacy of these services. Retail traders should always remember to take these fees into consideration.
A necessary feature of adoption Bitcoin ATMs are such an important part of the Bitcoin ecosystem. They show the world that cryptocurrency is a genuine and legitimate currency that people need to be paying attention to. Next time you travel, find out if there is a Bitcoin ATM near you because it might end up being extremely useful.