Author: John Ma
There are many ways to buy cryptocurrencies online, but what if you’re sitting on a pile of cash that you want to immediately convert? You can take the scenic route – deposit the cash at your local bank, register with an exchange, complete identity verification, fund your account, wait for it to appear on the exchange, and then finally make the swap.
That’s a lot of steps, though, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be great if some magical vending machine existed that spat out Bitcoin in return for your filthy fiat bills? Good news! That machine is called a Bitcoin ATM and in this tutorial, we’re going to talk you through using one.
What is a Bitcoin ATM?
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In the wallet app, we will need to locate the public address. Most apps will display this information if you tap on a “Receive” button. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be using the QR code. If you are using a wallet that supports multiple cryptocurrencies, make sure you have the public address corresponding to the currency that you will purchase (in this guide, BTC).
Clicking on any of the pins will display information about the ATM’s location and supported currencies. If we click on “View Details,” we can see price feeds, fee schedules, operator details, and, most importantly, ratings from other users.
We’ll want to pick an ATM with good recent ratings, that displays owner contact details and provides a price feed as well as a fee schedule. Fake machines exist, so this data gives us some confidence as to their authenticity.
Buying your coins
We’re now facing a Bitcoin ATM, armed with our mobile wallet in one hand and a fistful of cash in the other. Before you start pressing buttons, it’s a good idea to have a good look at the machine to see how it all works. All machines will be slightly different in layout (and aesthetic), but the basic functionality will be the same. In this guide, we will refer to the machine pictured above.
Along the left-hand side are the slots for depositing and collecting fiat money, a receipt printer, and a QR reader for address input.
- Scan your wallet’s Bitcoin receiving address with the ATM’s QR reader to tell the machine where to send the purchased Bitcoin.
- Check that the alphanumeric address displayed by the machine is exactly the same as that displayed by your wallet app.
- Insert your cash into the deposit slot.
- Set the miner fee that you want to pay for the transaction to be included in a block (note: not all ATMs have this feature). The higher the fee, the sooner it will be confirmed.
- Finalize the transaction by accepting the purchase.
- Take the receipt in case of any issues.
After the purchase
There should definitely be at least one confirmation in the first hour. If there are none after a couple of hours, you should contact the ATM owner immediately to see if there’s a legitimate technical reason for the delay.
Bitcoin ATMs offer consumers a simple method for purchasing Bitcoin with cash. As a bonus, the Bitcoin purchased will not have been attached to your personal identity through the use of bank transfers or credit cards.