Walmart, the world’s largest retailer by revenue, is now selling bitcoin in hundreds of its U.S. locations.
Customers may buy cryptocurrencies through Coinstar ATMs located throughout the retailer’s massive large box stores. On Oct. 12, a CoinDesk editor tested the service by purchasing a modest quantity of Bitcoin at a Pennsylvania Walmart.
Walmart communications director Molly Blakeman told CoinDesk via email that “Coinstar, in cooperation with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin.” “This pilot includes 200 Coinstar kiosks that are positioned within Walmart shops across the United States.”
Coinstar is most recognized for letting customers exchange coins for cash, gift cards, or paper bills. Coinme, a cryptocurrency wallet and payment company specializing in bitcoin ATMs, has made it possible to buy bitcoin (BTMs).
A paper voucher is given once bills are inserted into the machine. Before the coupon can be redeemed, you must first create a Coinme account and pass a know-your-customer (KYC) check. According to the Coinstar website, which CoinDesk verified, the machine costs 4% bitcoin and 7% for cash exchange.
Following a hoax last month in which a bogus press release claimed that litecoin (LTC) would be accepted as payment at Walmart stores, CoinDesk tested the service out of an abundance of caution. The bitcoin-Bentonville link is actual this time. According to a source familiar with the pilot, the Litecoin fiasco has deterred Walmart from publishing a press announcement in Bentonville, Ark.
Bitcoin ATMs are becoming more common.
The cryptocurrency ATM market is rapidly growing, spurred in part by the COVID pandemic. In response to a surge in usage, Coinstar announced intentions to treble its fleet of 3,500 Coinme BTMs by 2020.
Coinstar, which began offering bitcoin-buying services with Coinme in early 2019, has recently added 300 bitcoin-enabled ATMs to Winn-Dixie, Fresco, y Más Harveys, and other Florida grocery stores.
But Walmart, which has long been regarded as the crown jewel in the mainstreaming of crypto financial services, has taken another step forward – even if the 200-kiosk experiment is pocket change for a corporation with 4,700 stores and a market capitalization of $409 billion.
Given Walmart’s shared connections with Coinme and MoneyGram, the possibility for crypto-enabled financial services for lower-income users is alluringly close. Still, the store did not explain further its crypto aspirations.
Concerns about adherence
While large-scale BTM rollouts may boost acceptance, money laundering risks remain, according to Seth Sattler, compliance director at BTM supplier DigitalMint. He claims that some crypto ATM operators ignore the relatively high degree of criminal activity attracted by the machines. Money mules, people traffickers, and other con artists fall within this category.
According to Sattler, a prominent contributor to the recently convened Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative, DigitalMint has rejected and refunded $5 million to fraud victims over the last 18 months, despite accounting for only 5% of total BTM transaction volume.
In an interview, Sattler stated, “Large retailers need to make sure they know the vendor they’re getting into bed with and what that organization is doing to manage risk.”
One brand will almost certainly come to mind first, or at least among the top three, when you think about American retail. Of course, I’m referring to Walmart! Sam Walton’s third effort at starting a business has gone beyond his wildest dreams, and he now owns one of the world’s largest stores. For a fellow Arkansas native, this is quite an achievement. You might be wondering why I’m blogging about Walmart when I normally write about XYO or other cryptocurrencies.
We all know Walmart has its finger on the pulse of retail sales and is constantly seeking for new methods to reach out to the masses by giving things that people will really buy, hence enhancing the company’s bottom line. Walmart is rarely the first to market with a product, but they are more than willing to capitalize on popular products. Consider the “As Seen on TV” section of practically every Walmart in the United States! The items that were advertised as being available just through this television deal are frequently discovered for sale in the store. Which ones make it to the shelves, of course, the ones that are successful! As a result, Walmart has “quietly” entered the crypto world!