United States retail giant Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, has launched a program to allow customers to buy bitcoin at 200 of its stores via Coinstar ATMs.
“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin. There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot,” Walmart communications director Molly Blakeman told CoinDesk on Friday.
Walmart customers can now freely buy the cryptocurrency at Coinstar ATMs, which was verified by a CoinDesk editor, who bought a small amount of bitcoin at a Pennsylvania Walmart earlier in October.
Coinstar kiosks were previously mainly used for exchanging coins for paper bills or gift cards. The new service is enabled by Coinme, a crypto payment company that specializes in bitcoin ATMs, also known as BTMs.
According to a CoinDesk source at Walmart, the company deliberately abstained from issuing a press release after a fake press release last month claimed that litecoin was to be accepted as payment at Walmart stores.
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The cryptocurrency ATM industry is expanding at a rapid pace, partly fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Coinstar introduced bitcoin-buying services with Coinme in 2019, operating around 3,500 Coinme BTMs in the US by 2020 and adding around 300 more bitcoin-selling machines across the state of Florida by April 2021.
Walmart’s 200 bitcoin-enabled ATMs are part of a pilot project with the potential to expand across the retail giant’s 4,700 stores.