Bitcoin ATM—Too Good To Be True?
I've Been Waiting For Something Like This
On Thursday, I was in our local mall for work. We have four machines there and two ATMs that I'm regularly checking on or filling.
As I finished filling an ATM, I happened to notice this nearby:
At first, I didn't know what it was. I realized, though, it had been there for a while—maybe a week—but it didn't really make me want to check it out. Maybe it was the coloring and the somewhat ordinary look to the machine. It looks like other kiosks that are floating around the mall.
For some reason on Thursday, something about it drew my attention, so I went over to see what it was.
I think the first thing I saw was below the touch screen, on the base in white letters: CoinCloud. Then I saw BTM in big letters, and then getting closer, I saw that it was a Bitcoin Teller Machine.
For a few minutes, I got really excited. The instructions basically said I just needed to put in cash and I could buy bitcoin.
Well, that wasn't exactly the case. It wanted my phone number, too, and I found out after further investigation that I needed to sign up for an account. No big deal, really. It's not like I haven't signed up for accounts before.
Then I saw the amount for 1 BTC: $10,539.16 USD.
Red flags went off. I was wondering what the fee might be before I saw the BTC price. I didn't know exactly what BTC was doing at that moment, but this was after the big drop from just under $10,000 USD to somewhere around $8,900 by this time Thursday. So, market value had been well under $10,000 by then.
Then I saw the other bit of information underneath the price—retail exchange rate.
Needless to say, my excitement faded. BTC on Coinbase vs. this CoinCloud BTM was roughly a $1,600 difference. It wasn't like I was going to buy a whole bitcoin, or even 10% of one. Maybe one or two percent. Still, it felt like highway robbery.
Now, I've seen some cryptocurrency machines before, but none this close to where I live. And since I'm at the mall now frequently, it would be easy to toss in a couple of twenties now and again and get BTC. My sole purpose for doing it, though, would be to then exchange it for STEEM.
I've talked about the hoops I need to jump through to get STEEM in previous posts. Coinbase, presumably driven by changes in law, has updated its procedures a couple of times since I signed up. Where I used to be able to use a credit card, I no longer can. Then, my bank apparently changed who processes ATM cards, rendering mine impossible to use even though it is a debit card and linked directly to my checking account.
So, I have to transfer fiat to Coinbase from my bank account, wait seven days, then buy an alt coin and exchange it for STEEM on Blocktrades. I used to be able to do all of that within a few minutes.
I got excited, because I thought I would be able to buy crypto from the machine, cash or card, and not have to wait the seven days to do it.
As far as I know (I couldn't find a waiting period in the FAQ I found online), all of that is true. It's just the retail price that stopped me from doing it. Then, in my research after, I found there are some fees associated with purchase, too, that they were reluctant to put an actual amount or percentage to.
More red flags.
Still, I consider this machine being close to home progress, even if it's a steeper price than I'm willing to pay. And it could be, with a little more research, and maybe a trial purchase of $20 USD, it wouldn't be so bad.
I'm not sure if this particular machine allows it, but apparently CoinCloud also sells other alt coins beyond Bitcoin, including Ethereum and Litecoin. And you can trade one for the other.
A lot of these alt coins I've never heard of. The one that caught my attention in particular, obviously, was TRON. For a moment, it flashed across my mind that if things were to go right for STEEM after the TRON/STEEM witnesses summit, STEEM could find itself on more exchanges, and then to some kind of crypto kiosk, like this one.
And then, I wouldn't even need to buy an alt coin first. I could go straight to STEEM!
What a glorious day that would be. No more waiting a week. No more jumping through hoops. No more fees on one site and then another.
But not yet.
Not at that retail price, anyway. Plus whatever mystery fees might apply.
So, I'm still at square one, but feeling a little more hopeful that maybe, possibly, within the not so distant future, STEEM could be more accessible to me than it is right now.
Images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen and coincloudATM.com