In the not-too-distant future, Americans won’t have to drive or even walk very far to find a bitcoin ATM.
Connected to the internet, Bitcoin ATMs resemble traditional ATMs but link to an exchange rather than a bank account. The machines take cash for bitcoin or other digital currencies. Some also let users sell bitcoin for cash.
Most of the transactions involve people paying $300 to $500 to buy a small stake in bitcoin, the price of which has been surging (along with its carbon emissions), lately trading at a record high near $62,000. Users pay transaction fees that range from 6% to 12%, according to Pamela Clegg, director of financial investigations and education at cryptocurrency compliance firm CipherTrace.
The machines offer a way into the market to those who “may not have the desire or funds to open an account at one of the big exchanges,” Clegg said.
Not yet ubiquitous, bitcoin ATMs are in stores, restaurants and airports scattered across the country. They can be found in all but two states — Alaska and Vermont — as well as in the District of Columbia, according to Coin ATM Radar.
There’s already a kiosk offering the world’s most popular currency for cash in the gift shop of the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, a town of less than 500 people. “Coin Cloud contacted us,” museum owner Vivian Sonder told CBS MoneyWatch. “I told them we’re…