What is a Bitcoin ATM?

What is a Bitcoin ATM?

A Bitcoin ATM is just like the atm's you're used to except for one big difference: Yep, it uses bitcoin! Bitcoin ATMs take paper currency (dollars, euros, pesos, etc) and load value onto your phone or onto a paper wallet for use on the Bitcoin network. This video was shot at a crackhouse in Allapattah, in west Miami.


What's up, party people? Chris DeRose here, Community Director of the Counterparty Foundation and in today's video, I wanted to answer the question, what is a bit-coin ATM? So, we all know what regular ATMs are. They're these machines that you go to, they're typically at a bank and you put your card in with an identifier and either money goes in when you make your deposits or money comes out where you get cash off that card. Well, a bit-coin ATM takes a lot of inspiration from that. A bit-coin ATM is a machine where you don't put in a magnetic stripe but you do show your public key and, typically, you put dollar bills into this bit-coin ATM and then from those dollar bills, they are exchanged at the market price and they are then put onto the public key that you presented. Most typically, the public key will be on your phone. It's your bit-coin wallet that you would display.

Some of them do actually have magnetic stripe readers in that they perform various know your customer checks on your license, so sometimes, depending on the machine, they'll ask to know who you are, [inaudible 00:01:06] some information for anti-money laundering purposes and that kind of thing, but that's the typical function of a bit-coin ATM. Sometimes, they're called BTMs and they're made by a number of manufacturers. Lamassu makes a great one and there's a handful of others in this space. Some are input only, in that they only receive cash and they put that cash onto your phone in bit-coin form. Some of them go both ways. Some BTMs are getting kind of sophisticated now, particularly internationally, where you'll have a Western Union type facility for them but you also have the ability to work with bit-coin and send [inaudible 00:01:43] coin, etc, but that's the jist of what a bit-coin ATM is.

They're pretty simple really. They're modeled after the ATMs we know and use and they provide much of the same functions. There's a whole industry around it. It's very new. There are not that many out there but you can check online to see where one is in your area and if you have cash or paper fiat that you want to convert into bit-coin form, you would go to bit-coin ATM and do it. That's about all there is to it.

If you have questions about bit-coin that you'd like to ask me, go ahead and put them in the comments below or tweet me on Twitter or email me, and if you like this short video and you wanna see some more questions answered, subscribe to my channel. Later, party people.