​​What is a Bitcoin ATM and How Does it Work?

  • By Localcoin
  • December 22, 2023
what is a bitcoin atm

Bitcoin (BTC) is the original blockchain-based digital currency and the world’s most popular cryptocurrency that was launched in 2009.

As of August 2021, Bitcoin is even accepted by some major retailers, allowing it to be used for a variety of offline transactions. The success of Bitcoin has inspired the creation of a variety of other cryptocurrencies, otherwise known as “altcoins”, but despite the competition, Bitcoin has remained the world’s most widely-adopted decentralized digital currency. 

Considering Bitcoin’s rise in popularity and the fact that many see cryptocurrencies becoming far more relevant as time goes on, many aspiring crypto-enthusiasts are looking for safe, secure ways to buy and sell this novel form of currency. But how does one go about doing that?

While it can seem daunting and confusing for newcomers, one of the easiest ways to buy and sell cryptocurrencies is with a Bitcoin ATM. In this guide about ​​what is a Bitcoin ATM, you will learn more about Bitcoin, the blockchain, and how to use a Bitcoin ATM!


Browse This Content: 

  1. What is a Bitcoin ATM?
  2. How to Use a Bitcoin ATM
  3. Is it Secure to Use a Bitcoin ATM?

What is a Bitcoin ATM?

While these terminals are often referred to as Bitcoin “ATMs”, they don’t work like regular, bank-owned ATMs that dispense cash, deposit money, and withdraw from a bank account that’s connected to the user’s identity. A Bitcoin ATM functions quite differently

  1. These internet-enabled terminals help users perform blockchain-based transactions from their crypto wallets, whether they are buying or selling Bitcoin, or other forms of cryptocurrency such as Ethereum or Litecoin. 
  2. Bitcoin ATMs are connected to the Bitcoin blockchain network, allowing customers to purchase cryptocurrency with cash or sell crypto from their wallets. 
  3. Bitcoin ATMs often utilize QR codes as an easy way to connect to the user’s Bitcoin wallet. 

While instructions on the terminal may appear straightforward at first glance, having an understanding of blockchain and crypto wallets is important in learning how to use a Bitcoin ATM properly. Plus, because transactions cannot be simply reversed, it helps to know the basics before you buy or sell!

Here’s How To Use a Bitcoin ATM

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, let’s have a look at how transactions are done using Bitcoin ATMs. Every Bitcoin ATM is different, but they all follow a similar process. Before heading to your local Bitcoin ATM, ensure you have a Bitcoin-compatible wallet set up and ready to go. Then, follow the prompts on the ATM screen. 

Find out the most important reasons why use a Bitcoin ATM.

How to Buy Bitcoin Using a Bitcoin ATM in Australia

If you are looking to buy Bitcoin in Australia, you can find a more thorough guide on the how to buy Bitcoin page.

  • Step 1: To start, locate a Localcoin ATM by entering your address or postal code on their website.
  • Step 2: At the ATM, sign up by submitting your phone number and a government-issued ID. This registration process typically takes about 2 minutes.
  • Step 3: Re-enter your phone number at the ATM to initiate the transaction.
  • Step 4: Choose Bitcoin, then scan your wallet's QR code using the ATM's camera. Click here to see the wallets recommended by Localcoin.
  • Step 5: Insert cash equivalent to the amount of Bitcoin you want to purchase. Upon completion, you will receive a receipt via SMS.

Note that identification is required for all transactions. There will also be a service fee which can vary based on the realities of the Bitcoin market at the time of your transaction. It is recommended that you wait for at least one confirmation on the blockchain before spending or sending your purchased funds.


Is it Secure to Use a Bitcoin ATM?

Using a Bitcoin ATM is a safe and reliable method of buying cryptocurrency.

However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t security risks; it’s the customer’s responsibility to keep their private keys private as they are used to validate crypto transactions, allowing a potential hacker to move Bitcoins into their own wallet if accessed. Always use a reliable wallet app that you trust to manage your private keys.

To learn more and keep yourself safe when using Bitcoin ATMs, check out the common crypto scams and ways to avoid them article.

Additionally, users should always be aware of waiting for complete confirmation on the blockchain before considering a transaction complete.


By going through this guide, you will have a clear understanding of what a Bitcoin ATM is and how to use it for your digital currency transactions.

Localcoin ATMs offer an accessible, user-friendly, and secure way for anyone to buy crypto in their communities. This is especially meaningful for beginners who are seeking a hassle-free way to dive into the world of digital currency with confidence!

As Australia’s second-largest Bitcoin ATM network with more than 70 terminals, it’s never been more convenient to buy cryptocurrency. 


Interested in buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at a Localcoin ATM? Click here to find a terminal near you.

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