Vancouver Bitcoin ATM Guide

What is a Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin ATM’s allow an individual to either purchase or sell Bitcoin and sometimes other cryptocurrencies. The first ever Bitcoin ATM was launched in the downtown Vancouver area in 2013. Since then the amount of Bitcoin atm’s in Vancouver has risen exponentially. A Bitcoin atm isn’t really an atm. The closest comparison would be to a vending machine except the vending machine only dispenses goods, you can’t sell the goods back to the vending machine. The Bitcoin atm dispenses Bitcoin but you can also sell the Bitcoin back to the atm. Most of these machines only have this single feature. Unlinke bank atm’s the Bitcoin atm is not linked to any personal account like a checkings or a savings, in some cases the atm requires no identification whatsoever.

Bitcoin ATM

How do Bitcoin atm’s work

Bitcoin atm’s are fairly easy to use. For buying Bitcoin you would need a Bitcoin wallet. A Bitcoin wallet can be downloaded for free in both Android and IOS devices. Similarily they can also be downloaded for free on PC’s and Mac’s. You can download one ahead of using a Bitcoin atm however this is not necessary. Most Bitcoin atm’s have the ability to create you what is known as a paper wallet. A Bitcoin wallet is just a string of numbers and letters whether this is on a phone, computer, or even a piece of paper, they all work the same. So if you do not bring a Bitcoin wallet with you The atm will simply create and print a paper wallet for you. This wallet looks like a receipt with a barcode on it. Do not lose the wallet, if you do any cryptocurrency stored on the wallet will be gone forever unless you have the private keys stored somewhere. I will go into depth about Bitcoin wallets in another guide. Here are the procedures to buy Bitcoin from an atm.

  • The atm may ask you for I.D. Some even go as far as having a biometric sensor and asking for your fingerprint
  • Insert cash ( these machines are only able to take one bill at a time so you maybe standing there for a while
  • The atm will then ask you for a wallet address or if it should create you a paper wallet.
  • You receive the Bitcoin into your wallet

For Selling Bitcoin the process is basically the same. Except the machine will now provide you with an address for you to send the Bitcoin. Once the Bitcoin machine has confirmed you have sent the Bitcoin it will dispense the cash.

Map of Bitcoin ATMs


(picture courtesy of

Bitcoin atm near me

Coin atm radar is a website that tells you all the BTC atm’s across the globe.  You are able to search by country, city or by clicking on the map.  For instance you can search Canada and click on any cities where there is a Bitcoin atm near you such as Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

Bitcoin coins on table

The Good

  • Ease of use
  • Located everywhere, making it convenient
  • Anonymity ( some Bitcoin atm’s require no identification )

The Bad

  • High fees ( average is from 10-15% )
  • Hidden fees within the spread ( The price of Bitcoin is higher on the atm than in actuality )
  • No customer support ( if something goes wrong or if the machine malfunctions you maybe out of luck )
  • Theft ( This has happened. You will be inserting bills into a machine or getting bills from a machine. Most of the time these machines are not located in a safe bank type of spot. Many people will see you dispensing possibly 5 to 10 thousand dollars into a machine that only takes one bill at a time. This could lead to theft or harm.

What I think

The number of Bitcoin Atm’s will still increase. In fact it is expected to exponentially grow. Once regulated there maybe more features added to machines but also the ability to make anonymous purchases or sells may disappear. Bitcoin atm’s are great if you are purchasing small amount of Bitcoin to possibly buy something online or to use in specific instances. However I can’t justify spending a lot of money at a Bitcoin atm since the fees are too high and the reliability of the machines aren’t great. Many machines do not carry the amount of cash for 1 Bitcoin.

Although I made my first large purchase at a Vancouver Bitcoin atm this was in 2013. Now there are more options such as using an online exchange or a retail storefront like ours. Fees are cheaper, reliability isn’t an issue and customer support is great. We built Vancouver Bitcoin to bridge this gap from online to offline adding a personal human element like a bank. This is something a Bitcoin atm nor an online exchange can offer. We believe this builds trust in an industry that so many people distrust.

Save money with our low fees and exceptional staff.  Buying and selling Bitcoin does not get any simpler than using Vancouver Bitcoin. We are here to walk you through the steps of any Bitcoin transaction.  Try us out today.


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