This post is written by Jon H. — just another enthusiast helping take bitcoin mainstream.
As Bitcoin’s awareness expands, more and more people are turning to Google to learn about what Bitcoin is and where they can get some. I think all too many of us know that there is way too much friction to getting your first Bitcoin, so here’s 7 reasons why I think Bitcoin ATMs are still one of the best ways to get yours.
People are looking for a way to buy Bitcoin for the first time will likely stick with what they are familiar with. Although Bitcoin ATMs are nothing like regular ATMs, the basic interface is somewhat similar. A human walks up to a machine and interacts with a screen to deposit or withdrawal money of some sort. People don’t want to get all caught in some sort of weird hassle where they have to fill out extensive forms or meet obscure people in sketchy places or attach bank account to online exchanges. People want to go put $20 into a machine that is similar to machines they already know and get some of “this Bitcoin thing”. Bitcoin ATMs are a great face for the first time Bitcoin buyer all the way to the seasoned cypherpunks simply for their very familiar interface.
The ability to turn cash into Bitcoin in only a few taps on a tablet screen is an amazing thing. People tend to like this sort of simplicity because it doesn’t take much effort to get the coins. I have now used several different types of Bitcoin ATMs and they are without a doubt the easiest way that I have ever used to acquire bitcoin. The more the Bitcoin community around the world reduces the friction to acquire coins, the sooner we will see mainstream acceptance. Do whatever you can to make bitcoin more usable.
Buying from online exchanges like Coinbase can take as long as a week and Circle claims to offer instant purchases but several stories have emerged that would state otherwise. If you want to avoid bank accounts, the long waits and suspect claims put out by exchanges, the Bitcoin ATM is a great place to go. The near frictionless experience of buying through an ATM is one of it’s greatest features.
In order to buy Bitcoin at an ATM, you will need some sort of tangible wallet to store them with. Some Bitcoin ATMs even offer the ability to print out a paper wallet and have your coins sent their for transfer to another wallet shortly thereafter. (This would allow you to buy Bitcoin even if you left your phone at home or something or maybe even give Bitcoin as a gift) Having your own coins safely stored on your own wallet that only you control is a good feeling. And because of the speed of ATMs, they offer a very tangible peace of mind, knowing that you aren’t waiting for your coins for 3-5 business days.
When you purchase Bitcoin through an exchange like Circle and Coinbase, you not only let the exchange know that you are buying Bitcoin, but you are also letting your bank know that you are spending your money on Bitcoin. If you are trying to avoid scrutiny from your bank for buying Bitcoin, a trip to your local Bitcoin ATM could prove to be very handy. You will need cash to Buy bitcoin from your local ATM and nothing is more private than cash.
If you have a steady job and a bank account with lots of money in it, then you can just create an account with Coinbase or Circle and transfer money directly from your bank account to buy Bitcoin but what if you are one of the world’s underbanked or even completely unbanked? How do you get Bitcoin if you don’t have a bank account? Well, an ATM might just be one of the best viable options for you since you don’t need much more than some cash and sometimes a cell phone number. These are things that the underbanked and unbanked seem to have pretty easy access to across the globe.
The ability to walk up to a machine with cash in hand and walk away seconds or minutes later with bitcoin is something that appeals to a rather large number of people because of it’s instant liquidity. Waiting for days to get your coins from an exchange means that your liquid assets are tied up in “processing” for days. Keep your assets liquid with a stop off at your local Bitcoin ATM.
Be sure to visit Bitcoin ATM Map to learn where the nearest Bitcoin ATM is located.