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By Mallika Mitra
October 22, 2021
Walmart photo with Bitcoins in the background
Money; Getty Images

Next time you head to Walmart you can buy your groceries, start your holiday shopping and ... buy bitcoin.

As part of a bigger initiative from Coinstar, known for its ATM-like kiosks that allow customers to trade physical coins for cash or gift cards, and Coinme, a digital currency exchange, there are now 200 Coinstar kiosks that can be used to purchase bitcoin in Walmart stores across the country, Molly Blakeman, a communications director, told Money.

Coinstar and Coinme offer Bitcoin at more than 8,000 kiosks, including in grocery stores like Stop & Shop and Foodtown.

Cryptocurrency has recently exploded in popularity. Bitcoin, alongside other well-known cryptos, can be bought via Venmo and Cash App, or traded on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and trading apps like Robinhood. Earlier this week, U.S. investors got the closest thing yet to a bitcoin ETF or mutual fund when the first bitcoin futures ETF started trading on the market. Bitcoin's price hit a record high on Wednesday, jumping above $66,000 per coin.

Now, the crypto can be bought at one of the country's largest retailers, providing even more people the chance to get in on the action.

"Coinstar recognizes that a diverse population has varying payment preferences," Coinstar's website says. "As bitcoin usage grows worldwide, our customers will seek greater access to buying and using this new form of currency."

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How to buy bitcoin at a Coinstar kiosk

To buy bitcoin from a Coinstar kiosk, customers must create a Coinme account (which they can do online) and find and insert cash into a Coinstar kiosk. They'll then receive a physical voucher for bitcoin that can be redeemed online. Each purchase carries a transaction fee of 4% and a cash exchange fee of 7%, according to Coinstar's site.

Trading cryptocurrency can come with high fees. For example, Coinbase and Gemini charge a 0.5% spread (or convenience fee) on all transactions, plus fees that start at $0.99, depending on the size of the transaction.

The Walmart news comes after a fake press release made the rounds last month, incorrectly announcing that Walmart would start allowing customers to pay for items with Litecoin, another cryptocurrency. Litecoin's price briefly jumped nearly 30% on the (fake) news before Walmart issued a statement denouncing the press release.

But it's no hoax this time: CoinDesk reported that one of its editors tested a new Walmart kiosk service, and it is indeed real.

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