Although the initial trial period is just 200 ATMs, the launch is part of a wider plan to install 8,000 bitcoin ATMs in the country, according to multiple reports.
There are more than 25,000 bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. located at supermarkets and gas stations, and Coinstar operates 4,400 bitcoin kiosks in 33 states.
Coinstar launched the Walmart pilot program in conjunction with Coinme, Walmart’s communications director, Molly Blakeman, told Coindesk.
“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin,” said Blakeman. “There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.”
Customers wanting to use the bitcoin machines must have a Coinme wallet or set one up at the ATM. The cost is 4 percent for exchanging Bitcoin plus an additional 7 percent for converting the eCurrency into cash, according to the Coinstar website.
People without a Coinme wallet can still insert paper money and use the returned redemption code to set up the Coinme account.
Bitcoin ATMs were first introduced in the U.S. about seven years ago, according to Coin ATM Data. There are now almost 50,000 terminals in the U.S. and 130 in Hong Kong as of the end of August.
“Bitcoin ATMs have been around for a while, including in many supermarkets,” Sam Doctor, chief strategy officer and head of research at crypto brokerage BitOodatold, told Bloomberg. “Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot.”