Coinstar, the creator of kiosks that transform the rest into cash and gift cards, has partnered with Coinme, the ATM cryptocurrency company to allow users to buy bitcoins.
The Seattle-based companies said bitcoin is available for purchase at certain Coinstar kiosks in Safeway and Albertsons stores in California, Texas and Washington. As part of the partnership, Coinstar has invested an undisclosed sum in Coinme.
The companies did not say how many of the 20,000 Coinstar kiosks would allow bitcoin purchases. Users will not have the satisfaction of turning a physical currency into a digital one: the bitcoin can only be bought in cash, up to a limit of $ 2,500. In exchange for cash, Coinstar will provide a code that can be redeemed on Coinme's website.
The new service comes at a time when the bitcoin is in disuse.
The value of Bitcoin fell by over 70% last year, the volume of trade on the major stock exchanges collapsed and the initial money supply market has dried up.
But Coinme's CEO and co-founder, Neil Bergquist, thinks that cryptocurrency is more useful now than ever.
"People are moving away from gambling on the future price of the digital currency and are instead taking advantage of digital currencies for their inherent technological benefits thanks to blockchain technology," Bergquist told GeekWire in an e-mail.
Coinme, launched in 2014, stated that Coinstar's investment brings its total funding to $ 4.5 million. Earn money through transaction fees and a cryptocurrency consulting service for customers with larger transactions.
There are over 4,000 bitcoin ATMs globally, according to Coin Radar ATM data. Coinme is ranked ninth among ATM cryptocurrency operators with 54 offices. Genesis Coin and General Byte manage most ATMs, with over 1,000 positions each.
Bergquist said the Coinme ATMs saw greater use during the last bitcoin "winter".
"Our customers use bitcoin as a means of exchange for remittances, a diversified range of value for their wallet, or simply as a gift for that familiar" crypto-curious "," he said.
Established in 1991, Coinstar had already been owned by Outerwall, acquired by Apollo Global Management in 2016. Apollo divided the three main activities of Outerwall – Coinstar, Redbox, ecoATM – into separate companies.
Coinstar continues to add new features to its kiosks. Last year it announced an integration with Seattle's doxo startup that allows people to pay their bills at kiosks and also added the Amazon Cash deposit capacity.