In some ways bitcoin is similar to cash: they are both an asset of the bearer (of the private key), they are directly tradeable without intermediaries and without any limit or control.
Of course, transactions in BTC are publicly recorded on the blockchain, while cash transactions are not recorded in any way, but the registration on the blockchain is anonymous, so this difference is only relatively significant.
But how can you convert BTC to cash and fiat currency?
Let’s start by saying that it is not so easy…
The first and easiest way is to sell them on a normal exchange that accepts fiat currencies, cash the fiat currency on your bank account and then withdraw the cash from your bank account with an ATM or at the counter of your bank.
As simple as it may be, it is not immediate and involves a transaction on your bank account.
The second way is more complex: finding someone willing to buy your BTCs for cash in person.
In this case, you have to arrange a physical meeting and execute the trade.
To find the buyer you can use LocalBitcoins, where in addition to online trading you can also arrange meetings for physical trading involving cash.
Even this method is not very fast and has also a flaw: how can you trust the person you will meet?
Unfortunately, there are famous cases in which, perhaps because there were big figures involved, the meeting turned out to be a scam or an ambush.
A third way is to use a fiat currency debit card that uses cryptocurrencies. In fact, there are some debit cards where you can deposit cryptocurrencies and spend (or withdraw) fiat currency.
Surely this is the fastest system because once you get the card, making the deposit in crypto is quick and easy. At that point it is possible, for example, to withdraw cash with that card at any enabled ATM.
The main flaw of this option are the commission costs: these cards, in fact, convert cryptocurrencies into fiat, but with a conversion commission cost. Therefore the cash you get will have a lower value than the crypto you used to pay.
The fourth way, in theory, would be even faster but unfortunately, it is not very widespread.
In fact, there are ATMs that convert fiat into crypto, and that are also able to do the opposite, to convert crypto into fiat. In this case, it is sufficient to go to the ATM, make a deposit in crypto and withdraw fiat.
Unfortunately however, this type of ATM is rare. Most ATMs only allow the exchange from fiat to crypto. On coinatmradar.com you will find both the map of all available crypto ATMs, and the map of ATMs that also allow the sale of crypto for fiat (filter “sell”): as you can see, the latter are definitely less. There are also commission costs on the trade, like with the third option.
One last way would be to convert the BTC not into physical cash (or banknotes) but into a stable coin like USDT or GUSD.
Of course, this is not the same at all, but stable coins based on fiat currencies are actually much more similar to cash than you might think. Their limit is that they are not yet widely accepted, while cash is accepted almost everywhere, but in the future, they could spread much more and become a viable alternative to the uncomfortable banknotes. In fact, this is by far the fastest, safest and cheapest way of all we have seen so far.