How Do Crypto ATMs Compare to Crypto Exchanges?

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Experts have good reason to believe that cryptocurrency is a massive part of our financial future. For example, 48% of millennials are knowledgeable about Bitcoin, while 35% of these young people own crypto.

This is a considerable increase from the 13% of all investors who own digital assets. So it makes sense that Bitcoin will explode as millennials carve out a greater section of the global economy. Accessing cryptocurrency will also be easier for these young investors because of crypto ATMs.

But what is a Bitcoin ATM, exactly? How do they compare to traditional online exchanges? Read on for a complete run-down of these two Bitcoin purchasing methods.

Why Invest in Bitcoin?

Before looking into whether crypto exchanges or ATMs are better, it’s essential to understand why you should buy Bitcoin. While experts are divided on the future of Bitcoin, it almost certainly is going to play a role in our economic future. Some believe it’s the future of money; others think it’s simply a good investment.

Regardless of how Bitcoin’s future ultimately plays out, it’s a great way to make secure transactions. For example, those who make purchases in Bitcoin don’t associate the transaction with a bank account. This lets them buy goods and services anonymously and keeps their personal and financial information off a network.

If you don’t want to spend Bitcoin, that’s fine- it’s also an excellent investment.

Currently, the global crypto market is growing at 13.8% yearly. If you invested $100 today, you’d have $113.80 a year from now. In 10 years, you’d have a total of $238!

This is a much higher growth rate than you’d see if you put fiat currency in the bank to gather interest. You can sell the Bitcoin later to get more money. In the end, the investment will pay off regardless of when you sell it back.

The Basics of Crypto Exchanges

The first cryptocurrency exchange went live in March 2010. It was called and allowed people to exchange fiat currency for Bitcoin with other investors. This market made Bitcoin more accessible to the general population since its conception in 2008.

In addition to making it easy to obtain Bitcoin, this exchange also increased the value of this cryptocurrency. Before the exchange’s launch, the price of Bitcoin was $0.003. In the summer after the exchange went live, the price went up to $0.05.

As of 2022, the price of Bitcoin is about $40,106.40. This is because buying and selling Bitcoin online has become more accessible and mainstream.

How Do Crypto Exchanges Work?

From Coinbase to Bisq, your options for online crypto exchanges are nearly limitless. There are over 300 exchanges online. This can make finding one that meets your specific needs challenging but also gives you many options.

Once you find an exchange that looks reputable and reliable, you’ll need to create an account. Next, link your Bitcoin eWallet to the site and select whether you’re looking to buy or sell Bitcoin. Since you’re looking to invest in crypto, you will buy it with fiat currency.

At this point, you can enter the amount of money that you’re looking to exchange for Bitcoin. Then, the exchange website will automatically pair you up with a seller and immediately complete the transaction. Note that you never will know the seller’s identity- the exchange will pair you up randomly for an anonymous exchange.

Unfortunately, you will not immediately receive Bitcoin upon completing the transaction. It will take up to a week for the cryptocurrency to appear in your eWallet. You won’t be able to spend it until you see it in your account.

Are Crypto Exchanges the Same as Direct Trades?

Many Bitcoin exchanges also offer a feature called “direct trade.” These options let you select a seller that you trust so that you can make an informed transaction. In addition, you’ll know whom you’re working with, how to contact them, and what to do if there’s an issue with the sale.

You can also engage in direct trades outside of exchanges. There are forums on many social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit that link Bitcoin buyers with sellers. If you look for a seller, you’re sure to come into contact with someone you trust enough to buy from eventually.

This appeals to some buyers because they know whom they’re trading with. However, it has the disadvantage of difficulty. You’d need to painstakingly go through the process of meeting sellers and choosing one that you trust. You also could select someone unreputable at the end of the day and be duped out of your money.

What Are Crypto ATMs?

Bitcoin ATMs are a relatively new method of buying and selling Bitcoin. These kiosks are precisely what they sound like- ATMs that trade in Bitcoin rather than government-issued currency. You use them by going to an in-person location rather than simply hitting up a potentially unreputable online forum.

This may sound inconvenient, but finding a Bitcoin ATM is very simple. You can use a kiosk locator tool to find somewhere to buy digital currency. For example, you’ll likely find a ByteFederal machine in your local bank, gas station, grocery store, or department store.

You’ll know a crypto ATM when you see it because it looks exactly like a regular ATM. However, it will also feature ByteFederal’s name and the Bitcoin symbol (₿). So if you get close enough to a Bitcoin ATM to scan your ID, it will be evident that you’ve come to the right place.

How Do Bitcoin ATMs Work?

Bitcoin ATMs are straightforward to use. All you’ll need to bring are:

  • A photo ID (such as a driver’s license)
  • The QR code to your ByteFederal eWallet
  • The cash that you’d like to exchange for crypto

Trading cryptocurrency is a simple step-by-step process once you have these items and make your way to your local kiosk.

First, scan your photo ID on the machine. Don’t worry- the ATM isn’t going to save any of your personal information. This is purely to verify that you’re the owner of the eWallet that you scan.

Next, scan the eWallet QR code. This code will usually be on your smartphone screen, but some people prefer to print it out on paper and scan it. Either method will link your eWallet to the machine immediately after verifying your identity as the owner.

You can then insert the cash that you want to buy Bitcoin with. Note that your limit is $29,500 per day with ByteFederal. This is much higher than most Bitcoin ATM providers, making it an excellent choice for those who want to make significant investments at once.

The corresponding amount of Bitcoin will soon appear in your eWallet. You can log off the machine and walk away. You’re done!

The Benefits of Bitcoin ATMs

There are many reasons that Bitcoin kiosks are a great choice, especially as opposed to online exchanges. Some of the most critical include:

  • Financial privacy
  • Security (due to not retaining personal information)
  • No login is necessary (users don’t need to make an account)
  • You don’t need a bank account
  • Tamper-proof design
  • No third-party sellers
  • Quick payment after a Bitcoin purchase
  • Simple, user-friendly interface
  • They’re becoming more widespread and readily available

Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the most essential crypto ATM advantages.


Crypto exchanges can be secure, assuming that you choose something extremely reputable. However, less reputable businesses can lead to a lot of data breaches. This is because users may link their banking or PayPal information to them to receive cash for crypto.

Even if the person you’re buying from is trustworthy, your information is still on the network. Cybercriminals can gain access to it via the website’s vulnerabilities. However, there also is the possibility that the seller isn’t trustworthy- you wouldn’t know since they are 100% anonymous.

Bitcoin ATMs don’t have this problem because there is no direct seller. Instead, you’re working directly with ByteFederal’s machines and security features. In addition, the kiosk won’t save any of your personal information, so there won’t be anything to steal even if there is a breach.

Bitcoin ATMs also don’t ever take buyers’ banking information. All transactions must be completed with cash. So you and other buyers are safe, as are sellers who receive exclusively cash in exchange for Bitcoin.

This means that crypto ATMs are the better option when it comes to crypto safety.


You may initially think an online exchange would be more convenient than a real-life venue. After all, there’s no need to hop in your car and go to another physical location. Instead, you could just boot up your laptop or mobile device and have Bitcoin in minutes.

Unfortunately, “in minutes” isn’t a reasonable expectation. An online Bitcoin purchase takes time. So you might wait 5-7 days before any crypto shows up in your eWallet.

This is also assuming that it does show up. Because of the long wait period between the purchase of Bitcoin and its delivery, you’re more likely to be duped out of your money. Since a week will have passed since the purchase, you also will have little recourse for receiving your due cryptocurrency.

Conversely, ByteFederal Bitcoin ATMs immediately give you what you pay for. So you’ll have the appropriate cryptocurrency in your account before even leaving the kiosk. This means that you can instantly begin spending your Bitcoin online or in stores.

Convenience is another point in favor of crypto ATMs.


Convenience necessitates accessibility, so it should come as no surprise that Bitcoin ATMs are also highly accessible. There’s a ByteFederal machine in most areas across the US, so you won’t need to travel far to access the benefits of these kiosks. You probably have one at a location where you usually shop, whether that’s a convenience store or a place where you get groceries.

Because of this, you won’t even need to take a separate trip to buy Bitcoin. You can just get crypto the next time you’re running errands. Investment is easy because of the machine’s accessibility.

Using a Bitcoin ATM is also extremely easy. Even those who have limited technology experience can buy crypto. All you need to do is follow the prompts on the machine.

You also don’t need to understand the ins and outs of blockchain technologies or crypto mining. Instead, you can simply get Bitcoin. This is similar to how you don’t need to know how coins are minted to get them from the bank.

Bitcoin ATMs are accessible to everyone. This is true even for those without a stable network connection.


So, Are Crypto ATMs Better Than Online Exchanges?

While crypto exchanges are a tried and true way to trade in Bitcoin, they are no longer the only option available to you. Crypto ATMs are a secure, convenient, and accessible alternative that makes sense for most investors and enthusiasts. Now that you know the benefits of these kiosks and how to use them, it’s time to get started.

ByteFederal has Bitcoin ATMs located all across the nation so that you can easily access the advantages of cryptocurrency. Our experts are happy to help you find one of these ATMs and answer any remaining questions about using our secure machines. Contact us to learn more about this easy way to invest!

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Jennifer Lawrence, the effervescent Creative Director of New Bytes, brings a fresh and innovative perspective to the crypto-focused publication. Hailing from the vibrant city of Austin, Texas, Jenny's intrigue in the intersection of design, technology, and finance was sparked during her time studying at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Jenny's commitment to clarity through design, her comprehensive understanding of the crypto universe, and her passion for making information aesthetically accessible contribute immensely to Cryptosphere's appeal and its engagement with a broad audience.