A pilot project has started in the US that allows Bitcoin to be purchased at Coinstar points of sale in 200 Walmart shops.
This is reported by Bloomberg, which reveals the start of this test resulting from a partnership between Walmart Inc. and Coinstar, a company known for its ATMs that allow customers to swap change for banknotes or gift cards.
200 Bitcoin ATMs at Walmart
The pilot project was launched earlier this month, involving 200 points of sales that have been placed in Walmart shops.
The test is part of a larger initiative whereby Coinstar is working with crypto exchange Coinme to offer Bitcoin at over 8,000 points of sale across the US.
The most interesting aspect of this initiative is the involvement of Walmart, which explicitly announced the initiative yesterday, saying that customers in some of its US shops can now buy Bitcoin using these Coinstar ATMs.
Coinstar itself was already well known in the crypto world thanks to a test of how its ATMs work carried out by a major industry magazine.
How Coinstar ATMs work
Customers who want to buy Bitcoin have to insert their banknotes into the machine, and in return they receive a voucher. This voucher is redeemable on the Coinme crypto exchange, where they have to open an account and have their identity verified. They can then redeem the voucher.
Coinstar ATMs charge a 4% fee for Bitcoin, while it is 7% on the cash exchange.
Walmart’s interest in crypto
The novelty lies not so much in the fact that such machines can be used to buy Bitcoin, nor in the fact that they are easily accessible because they are placed in busy public places, but in the direct and overt involvement of Walmart.
The American company is the largest company in the world by number of employees worldwide (2.2 million), and has already been active in the blockchain sector for some time. In 2019 it even registered a patent for the possible creation of a stablecoin.
More recently, it posted a job ad on its official LinkedIn profile with which it was looking for a director to work on internal projects related to cryptocurrencies and digital currencies.
At this point, it is more than clear that the company is considering experimenting with some kind of direct participation in the cryptocurrency market, albeit for now only through a partnership with an exchange provider.
Should the test be successful, it is possible to imagine a deeper involvement of the large distribution company in this sector.