In America, they reckon you can buy pretty much everything at Walmart. And now that includes Bitcoin.

The retail chain-store behemoth is now enabling the sale of BTC – testing things out with 200 Coinstar/Coinme ATMs installed at dozens of it stores.

Bitcoin ATMs (also known as Bitcoin Teller Machines, or BTMs) have been popping up here and there globally for a few years now. This reporter, for instance, recalls buying a sausage roll, a packet of Jila mints and about AUD$30 worth of Bitcoin at a Sydney CBD 7-Eleven corner store late one evening in 2017.

And that’s a similar story to big-shot venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s (see further below), in that it was an “underinvestment”. (Guessing he doesn’t waste money on dodgy sausage rolls, though.)

But this Walmart news is notable, “huge” even, not least of all because we’re talking about the world’s largest company by revenue continuing to tip-toe its way into the crypto sector.


It’s not fake news this time

After a fake news Litecoin-Walmart partnership circulated last month, Coindesk, who broke this latest story, triple-checked everything by actually making a purchase at one of the store’s ATMs.

And speaking with the New York-headquartered crypto media outlet, Walmart communications director Molly Blakeman confirmed that “Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase Bitcoin,” adding:

“There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.”

Unlike its name might suggest to crypto investors, Coinstar is not particularly widely known as a crypto service. It’s better known for exchanging actual, pocket-encumbering coins for paper cash and gift-voucher cards.

But maybe its strategic pivot and partnership with Coinme (which actually began in 2019) will turn out to be a great move for the company now that Walmart’s on board. Coinme is the actual crypto-tech enabler in the partnership – it’s a crypto wallet and payments firm that specialises in Bitcoin ATM integration.

The Bitcoin and crypto ATM sector is a rapidly expanding one in a fast-growing industry. As Stockhead has previously reported, film director Spike Lee has promoted Coin Cloud ATMs, Bill and Ted’s favourite chain store Circle K hosts Bitcoin Depot ATMs, and LibertyX has been scooped up by a Fortune 500 company.


‘I underinvested in Bitcoin’: Peter Thiel

Meanwhile, in an interview in Miami with a policy think tank group this week, noted tech investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel said he regrets not buying more of the OG cryptocurrency in its early days.

“You’re supposed to just buy Bitcoin,” Thiel told the Lincoln Network, as reported by Bloomberg, adding: “I feel like I’ve been underinvested in it.”

Thiel did express some concern, however, that now everyone seems to know about Bitcoin it has less power as an investment.

“The secret [is] already known by everybody,” he said. “I think the answers are still to go long. Maybe it still is enough of a secret.”

In a wide-ranging discussion that also covered his concerns about the power of artificial intelligence, Thiel also noted that Bitcoin’s latest rally (it hit all-time highs earlier this week, breaching US$67K, although has now pulled back to about $63K) is a big concern for global central banks.

“It surely tells us that we’re at a complete bankruptcy moment for the central banks,” theorised the investor.

PayPal, which Thiel co-founded in 1998, has been making crypto moves over the past year or so, rolling out its crypto payments services in the US and, more recently, the UK.