How Cryptocurrency ATM Works

Cryptocurrency automated teller machines (crypto ATM) are an increasingly popular way to buy and sell digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins.

These machines are similar to traditional ATMs in that they allow users to deposit or withdraw cash, but instead of dispensing physical currency, they facilitate transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency ATM provides a simple and convenient way for people to access the world of digital currencies and participate in the growing blockchain technology ecosystem.

bitcoin atm
Photo by John Paul Cuvinar

In this article, we’ll explain how cryptocurrency ATMs work and how they can be used to purchase and sell digital assets. We’ll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a crypto ATM.

NB: When buying or selling crypto, we urge you to exercise trading caution because it is volatile

What is a Cryptocurrency ATM?

A cryptocurrency automated teller machine (ATM) is a kiosk or terminal that enables users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies for cash or other forms of payment.

It is similar to a traditional ATM, which allows users to withdraw fiat currency or perform other banking transactions.

However, a crypto ATM is explicitly designed for cryptocurrency transactions, and instead of dispensing cash, it processes transactions in Bitcoin or Ethereum or other forms of supported digital coin

Users can insert cash into the machine to purchase or deposit cryptocurrencies to receive fiat currency. Some cryptocurrency ATMs also allow users to exchange one type of cryptocurrency for another.

Where can I find a Crypto ATM?

Cryptocurrency ATMs are often in public places like shopping centers, airports, or train stations.

They are a convenient way for people to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, especially for those who need access to a traditional exchange or who prefer to conduct transactions in person.

According to a breakdown of crypto ATMs by country, the United States has the highest with 33,463 locations spread across the country, followed by Canada has 2,661 crypto ATM locations, Spain with 270 sites, Australia with 254 locations, and Poland with 225 locations.

History of Cryptocurrency ATMs

The first Bitcoin ATM was installed in Vancouver, Canada, on October 29, 2013, by Robocoin.

The machine allowed users to buy and sell Bitcoin using cash, and it caused a significant media buzz at the time.

After the launch of the first Bitcoin ATM, many other companies started to develop their machines.

By 2014, there were around 40 cryptocurrency ATMs worldwide, and the number continued to grow over the following years. In 2017, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs reached 1,000.

Currently, 39,011 crypto ATMs are operating globally, according to the data compiled by on August 7, 2022.

Out of these 39,011 crypto ATMs, 38,998 of those machines support bitcoin (BTC), 33,056 of the aggregate total also supports altcoins, such as Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Bitcoin cash (BCH).

The speed of crypto machines installed over time is recorded by a gauge scale, which shows that 14.7 crypto ATMs are installed daily.

Types of crypto ATMs

There are several types of cryptocurrency ATMs, each with its features and capabilities. Here are some of the most common types:

One-way or Unidirectional ATMs:

These machines allow users to buy cryptocurrencies using cash but do not allow users to sell or withdraw fiat currency.

Bi-directional ATMs:

These machines allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using cash. They can also dispense cash in exchange for cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency ATMs can also differ regarding the types of cryptocurrencies they support, the fees they charge, and the transaction verification process required.

Researching different types of cryptocurrency ATMs before using one is essential to ensure it meets your specific needs.

How do Crypto ATMs work

Crypto ATMs are usually connected to a crypto exchange, which facilitates the purchase and exchange of cryptocurrency.

The exchange ensures the transaction goes through and will take a fee. By connecting to a crypto exchange, users can access a wide range of cryptocurrencies to find the best deals and maximize their return on investment.

How to find Cryptocurrency ATMs near You

Use a cryptocurrency ATM locator service:

Several websites and mobile apps allow you to search for cryptocurrency ATMs based on location.

Some popular locator services include:

  • Coin ATM Radar,
  • CryptoMaps, and
  • Bitcoin ATMs.

Check the website of the cryptocurrency ATM operator:

Many cryptocurrency ATM operators have a website that lists the locations of their machines. Check the website of popular operators like CoinFlip, Bitcoin Depot, and Coin Cloud.

Search on Google Maps:

You can also search for cryptocurrency ATMs on Google Maps. Enter “cryptocurrency ATM” or a similar keyword into the search bar, and the map will display any nearby locations.

How to Buy or Sell Bitcoin on Crypto ATM

The exact process of using a cryptocurrency ATM may vary slightly depending on the specific machine, but here are the general steps for how they work.

Location of a crypto ATM:

Users locate crypto ATMs near them using a cryptocurrency ATM locator service or searching online for the closest cryptocurrency ATM.

Creation of digital wallet:

Crypto ATMs connect to the digital wallet to process transactions. A digital wallet is also needed to store the crypto that will be purchased.

Some machines allow users to create a new wallet, while others require verifying an existing one.


The user starts by verifying their identity, either by scanning a government-issued ID, providing personal information or performing a biometric scan, such as a fingerprint, to use the machine.


The user then selects the cryptocurrency they want to buy or sell and the amount they wish to transact.


If the user is buying, they insert cash into the ATM, or if they are using a credit/debit card, they swipe or tap it. If the user is selling, they transfer the cryptocurrency to the ATM.


The ATM then confirms the transaction and is recorded on the blockchain, the decentralized ledger that tracks all cryptocurrency transactions.


The user can then print a receipt that shows the details of the transaction.

Not all cryptocurrency ATMs work the same way, but most follow a similar process. Some may have different options for payment or Verification, and some may have different fees or limits on the amount of cryptocurrency that can be transacted.

Users need to read the instructions carefully and understand the terms and fees associated with each transaction.

In addition to buying and selling digital currencies, cryptocurrency ATMs allow users to deposit and withdraw cash from their digital wallets. It enables users to quickly transfer funds without going through a traditional financial institution.

To do this, users must select the cryptocurrency they want to exchange and provide their wallet address. The crypto ATM will then transfer the exchanged cryptocurrency to the user’s wallet.

Benefits of using Bitcoin ATM:


Cryptocurrency ATMs offer a convenient way to buy or sell cryptocurrencies in a physical location.

Users can use a cryptocurrency ATM to purchase or sell cryptocurrencies quickly and easily without going through the lengthy process of setting up an account on an exchange.

Quick transactions:

Cryptocurrency ATMs can process transactions quickly, usually within a few minutes, Which is much faster than buying or selling cryptocurrencies on exchanges, which can take several days to complete.

Easy to use:

Cryptocurrency ATMs are typically designed to be easy to use, with intuitive touchscreen interfaces and clear instructions; this makes them accessible to users who may not be familiar with buying or selling cryptocurrencies.

Lower fees for small transactions:

For small transactions, cryptocurrency ATMs can offer lower fees compared to traditional exchanges, which may charge higher fees for smaller transactions

Disadvantages of using a Bitcoin ATM

High fees:

Crypto ATMs can have higher fees than buying or selling cryptocurrencies on exchanges. Fees can vary depending on the operator, the machine’s location, and the transaction amount.

Limited crypto options:

Not all cryptocurrency ATMs support the same cryptocurrencies, and some machines may only support popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, while others may support a broader range of altcoins. Before using a cryptocurrency ATM, ensure it supports the cryptocurrency you want to buy or sell.

Limited transaction limits:

Some cryptocurrency ATMs may have limited transaction limits, which can be inconvenient if you need to make larger transactions. Limits can vary depending on the machine and the operator.

Limited hours of operation:

Some cryptocurrency ATMs may have limited hours of operation, which can be inconvenient if you need to make transactions outside of regular business hours.


In conclusion, Cryptocurrency ATMs have become an essential part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, allowing people to buy and sell BTC, ETH and other cryptocurrencies easily and quickly.

As the adoption of cryptocurrencies continues to grow, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs will also continue to increase.


  1. Coin ATM Radar. “Bitcoin ATMs by Country”.
  2. Crypto Maps. “Discover Your Community’s Crypto-Friendly Merchants”.

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