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Bitcoin ATMs are popping up all around the US, including at gas stations

Need to snag some BTC real quick? Head down to the gas station.

Bitcoin cryptocurrency on table
Image: Unsplash

Bitcoin ATMs are ready to go mainstream as now you may be able to find them as close as the nearest gas station. The newly installed ATMs emerged at various smoke shops in Montana, gas stations in the Carolinas, and New York City. The ATMs are used by consumers to buy or sell digital currencies and sometimes load or unload cash. 

The price of the popular cryptocurrency has risen over $58,000 in the past year as the machines doubled their existence throughout the United States. As reported by, there were 28,185 Bitcoin ATMs in the United States by January 2021, approximately 10,000 of which were erected within the prior month.

Thousands of these ATMs have been installed by kiosk operators like Coinflip, Coin Cloud, and more. Quad Coin founder Mark Shoiket, who flew to Montana spoke to Reuters and said, “I just assumed there was demand and people wanted bitcoins everywhere.” He is right with this approach because Bitcoin has uses beyond traditional money and people need better access to it. As much as online transactions of the currency and its barter were useful, the ATMs have their own utility and thus, the demand for the online currency and installation of machines complements each other.

Let’s take a look at the types of Bitcoin ATM machines available

There are two main types of Bitcoin machines – unidirectional and bidirectional.  The bidirectional ones allow both sale and purchase of Bitcoins, however, less than 23% of Cryptocurrency machines in the US are bidirectional. Some machines only offer Bitcoins, whereas others allow people to invest in various digital currencies. They even offer a paper receipt. So, the experience is more or less like using your bank ATM.

But here’s the main issue. The fees for Bitcoin ATM machines that are used by customers to withdraw cash range from 6 to 20% of the total transaction amount which is higher than regular ATMs or online transactions. Fees vary depending on the location and Bitcoin ATM operator. So, using Bitcoins for online transactions rather than at ATMs would help you save more. No doubt many would still prefer cash conversions for the simple reason that cash seems more convenient, at least as of present.

There are some concerns raised by government agencies about the machines because of their high cost and potential for illegal activities. The New Jersey State Commission of Investigation elaborated some of those concerns in a February report titled “Scams, Suspicious Transactions and Questionable Practices at Cryptocurrency Kiosks” yet none of these concerns stopped the industry from growing.

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Writes technology news, hoards books, and gadgets, makes and breaks electronics, and sleeps. That's how Priya spends her day.

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