Walmart Is Allowing Customers to Buy Bitcoin at Some US Stores (for Real This Time)

Last month, a fake press release announcing a Walmart-Litecoin partnership saw the value of the cryptocurrency jump then dive. A month on, and Walmart is allowing customers to buy Bitcoin in some of its US stores for real.

As Bloomberg reports(Opens in a new window), Walmart is running a pilot program that allows customers to purchase Bitcoin using select Coinstar kiosks. Molly Blakeman, a Walmart spokesperson, confirms that shoppers can exchange cash for the cryptocurrency alongside the kiosk’s more regular function of exchanging coins for paper bills or gift cards. The pilot involves only 200 of the kiosks Walmart has installed at its stores.

Following the fake press release last month, CoinDesk(Opens in a new window) decided not to take any chances and visited a Walmart in Pennsylvania to confirm Bitcoin was available, and it was. Coinstar has partnered with Coinme(Opens in a new window), a crypto wallet and payments firm, which already runs Bitcoin ATMs as well as offering an app on iOS and Android for buying and selling the cryptocurrency.

When buying Bitcoin through a Coinstar kiosk, a paper voucher is issued in return for your cash. In order to redeem the voucher, a Coinme account needs to be created and a “know-your-customer (KYC)” check passed. Charges on the transaction come in two stages at the kiosk: a 4% transaction fee, followed by a 7% cash exchange fee. It’s therefore quite an expensive way to purchase cryptocurrency.

Walmart hasn’t issued a press release regarding the pilot or released a list of the stores hosting Bitcoin-enabled kiosks. According to CoinDesk, the fake Litecoin news last month deterred Walmart from making an announcement, and it’s happy for the news to slowly filter out instead.

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