Walmart Inc. has launched a pilot program to enable shoppers to purchase Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks set up at Walmart stores in the United States. Coinstar allows users to engage in the exchange of US coins with gift cards and paper bills. But the Coinstar booths will now allow Bitcoin transactions as well. The pilot program is going to launch 200 booths at Walmart stores. Coinstar has entered into a collaboration with the cryptocurrency exchange forum called Coinme to allow Bitcoin transactions at over 8000 booths. Sam Doctor, the Head of Research and Chief Strategy Officer of BitOoda, said that Bitcoin ATMs are quite popular now and the Coinstar kiosks of Walmart will give more access to Bitcoin to people across the world.
Walmart is currently assessing the service a few weeks after the press media pulled a hoax-like stunt on the departmental store chain saying that Walmart is going to allow transactions in Litecoin. The press report has been declared to be false by Walmart. At present, Walmart is estimating the future of cryptocurrencies in its transactions by exploring cryptocurrency-related investments and partnerships by building a roadmap for digital currency strategy and products. The Coinstar kiosks will now serve as Bitcoin ATMs at Walmart stores. The customers who seek to buy Bitcoin need to insert dollar bills into the Bitcoin ATM machines of Coinstar to receive Bitcoin vouchers. The users also need to open a Coinme account and go through the background checking process to redeem the Bitcoin voucher. As per the latest Coinbase reports, the Bitcoin ATM charges a 4% fee for Bitcoin options and a 7% fee for the exchange of cash. Sam Doctor feels that the fee is a little too exorbitant but the introduction of Bitcoin ATMs will certainly lower the barrier to entry for the first-time purchasers of cryptocurrencies.