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Walmart allows customers to add Bitcoin to their shopping lists

Mark Parker

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Walmart has announced customers can buy Bitcoin through in-store kiosks at 200 locations. Photo: Twitter.

In a clear sign that mainstream corporations are continuing to embrace blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, Walmart is now allowing shoppers to buy Bitcoin at hundreds of its U.S. stores.

Consumers can now add Bitcoin to their shopping lists, as Walmart Inc. announced Thursday a pilot program in which shoppers can buy the apex cryptocurrency at 200 stores. The pilot program is in conjunction with Coinstar and quietly began earlier this month. Coinstar, the company known for its machines that let customers exchange coins for paper bills or gift cards, has teamed up with crypto-cash exchange Coinme to offer Bitcoin at more than 8,000 kiosks.

Walmart’s unveiling of 200 Bitcoin kiosks comes after the company advertised a job offering in August to lead its cryptocurrency efforts into the future. According to Bloomberg, the job description sought someone to “develop the digital currency strategy and product roadmap” and “identify crypto-related investment and partnerships.”

The job listing has since been removed from the Walmart website but is still displayed on LinkedIn.

Coinstar began adding Bitcoin services in partnership with Coinme back in 2019, and according to Coindesk, the company has recently added 300 Bitcoin-enabled machines at places like Winn-Dixie and other grocery stores across Florida. While Walmart has not listed the locations of the 200 stores participating in the pilot, there is a plethora of Bitcoin ATMs (BTM) in St. Petersburg.

The Catalyst previously reported there are over 50 BTM’ in St. Pete, with dozens more spread across Pinellas County. The machines are operated by over 600 companies, and Bitcoin Depot is the industry leader with a 15.8% market share. The company recently entered a long-term partnership with the Circle K convenience store chain and plans to install kiosks at thousands of Circle K locations.

To purchase Bitcoin from Coinstar, customers insert paper bills in a Coinstar machine and receive a voucher with a redemption code. The transaction requires a Coinme account, and users must pass a background check. The kiosks charge a 4% fee for the Bitcoin option and a 7% cash fee but lowers barriers for people entering the market for the first time.

Walmart’s announcement comes just two weeks before the Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit debuts in Tampa Bay. The summit will feature several industry leaders, including Cathie Wood. Wood recently relocated her ARK Investment firm to St. Petersburg as the region looks to become a hub for financial technology.

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