With Bitcoin reaching broader acceptance, there’s been a recent push to access funds more easily. A new deal means that the option of withdrawing Bitcoin as cash is coming to 16,000 ATMs in the UK.
I’ll explain what this means for our money and my thoughts on whether I’d be enticed by this upcoming feature on cash machines.
Who is introducing Bitcoin withdrawals?
These cryptocurrency cash-out functions are being introduced across ATMs belonging to the independent cash machine operator, Cashzone.
They’re teaming up with London-based cryptocurrency business BitcoinPoint to roll out these new features.
What this means is that Bitcoin holders will be able to withdraw funds into cash at thousands of different locations around the UK.
Is it worth using Bitcoin as money?
There are still some very good points that make a case for Bitcoin being a useful alternative currency:
- It’s digital, so it’s easily transportable
- It’s highly divisible, so it can be broken down into really small amounts
- Blockchain technology is a robust and secure way of accounting
- There’s a limited supply of Bitcoin, so there is little chance of inflation
Bitcoin’s design does make it a useful alternative to regular money. However, I won’t be using Bitcoin ATMs any time soon and I’ll explain why.
Why not use Bitcoin ATMs?
Being able to access Bitcoin funds through cash machines adds to the argument of it being a useful form of money. This is because it’s becoming more accessible.
However, there are three really important things that put me off the idea of withdrawing Bitcoin and converting it into cash:
- The cost of withdrawing crypto funds at these ATMs is going to be £2.70 + 3.99%, which is fairly expensive.
- Although Bitcoin’s original design was to be a digital currency, it’s becoming more popular as a store of value (similar to gold). This is because the network is still quite slow and expensive to use.
- No one knows the true value of Bitcoin yet. The price keeps rising. So if I draw out £10 of cash today, that withdrawal could be worth £15 tomorrow – in which case I’d be pretty annoyed!
Who would use these ATMs?
Being able to convert Bitcoin at an ATM might be helpful for someone who has the majority of their money in cryptocurrency and owns basically no cash.
For most people, I really don’t think there’s a massive use case here. We don’t have ATMs for withdrawing and converting your stocks and bonds into cash, and I don’t think it’s really necessary for Bitcoin right now.
Following on from PayPal‘s example, I do think that more businesses will start accepting types of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. However, I think cryptocurrency credit and debit cards seem like a much more sensible venture than ATMs.
In my opinion, being able to withdraw Bitcoin as cash is novel, but not entirely useful. If I needed immediate access to cash, doing it this way would be a last resort and only if I had no money in my debit account.
I don’t doubt that cryptocurrency ATMs could be something we see more of as the technology develops. At this moment in time, I think it’s just too expensive and kind of arbitrary.
However, this is another positive sign of adoption and adds more legitimacy to digital currencies. So maybe this will be an important step towards more widespread acceptance.
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