In a world in which people increasingly pay for things using mobile wallets like Apple Pay, the presence of the machines you find at grocery stores, which turn your spare change into a more useful note-based form of cash, seem kind of retro. But they’re about to embrace one of the most exciting currency-based innovations happening right now — by allowing users to convert their regular cash into Bitcoin.
“Coinstar is always looking for new ways to offer value to our consumers when they visit our kiosks, and Coinme’s innovative delivery mechanism along with Coinstar’s flexible platform makes it possible for consumers to easily purchase Bitcoin with cash,” said Jim Gaherity, CEO of Coinstar, the company behind the change-counting kiosks, in a statement.
It’s the latest example of how Bitcoin is becoming accessible to folks who want to invest, just 10 years after it first burst onto the scene. Coinstar isn’t the only company helping with this, of course. For a few years now, a number of dedicated ATMs around the world have allowed users to trade the popular cryptocurrency. However, making Bitcoin gathering accessible in grocery stores and other locations around the U.S. is sure to make a difference in terms of overall visibility.
You won’t be able to use your nickel and dimes to buy Bitcoin, though. Instead, the decision has been made to only let customers purchase the cryptocurrency using paper money. Given how expensive Bitcoin is — even with the price down considerably from its all-time highs — that’s probably an understandable decision on the part of Coinstar.
Provided that you’re at a participating machine, users can buy their Bitcoin by selecting “Buy Bitcoin” as an option. They must then enter their phone number and the details of the transaction they wish to make. Following this, customers will receive a redemption code, which they can use on the Coinme website. It’s not clear how many of Coinstar’s machines will be offering Bitcoin.
This isn’t the first time that Coinstar has shown willingness to jump aboard the digital payments bandwagon. A few years ago, it teamed up with PayPal to allow customers to convert their loose change into currency that can be easily used online.