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Detailed comparison on Bitcoin ATMs across central Europe

Author: LB 2020-08-24 1195

Purchasing cryptocurrencies from ATMs is a very interesting experience. You first insert your money into the machine and wait until the purchased cryptocurrency arrives. The wallet application does notify you of the incoming crypto transfer, but what does this actually mean? If you are new to the world of cryptos this might be a bit scary because you just got digits for your real world money. But this is exactly what happens when you use a traditional ATM and deposit cash using your banking card. How do these machines work in Europe? I will try to give you a short comparison regarding cryptocurrency machines in central Europe.

I started my investigation on cryptocurrency ATMs in Hungary right in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, because the things I could do in Budapest were quite limited and I wanted to spend my time wisely. So let’s see a few words on cryptocurrency ATMs in the capital of Hungary.

1. Cryptocurrency ATMs in Budapest

Most of the machines, just as we would expect, are located in central Budapest, but you can still find some of these devices in the outskirts of the city.

A Bitcoin ATM in Budapest

The cryptocurrency ATMs I visited were operated by a company called CoinCash and they were pretty easy to use. These machines are two-way machines which means that you can use them to buy cryptocurrencies and you can also withdraw cash with the aid of these ATMs. I think this is a very convenient way to transfer your money if you're travelling across Europe for example, because you can use a machine in country A and then, when arriving in country B you can withdraw local money.

Buying for example Bitcoin in Hungary is very simple. The smallest amount that these machines can handle is 10.000 Hungarian forint, which is roughly equal to 40 USD. So make sure you have this amount of money with you when you want to purchase Bitcoins in Budapest.

First of all you have to choose whether you want to buy or sell Bitcoins and then you have to accept the Terms and Conditions. The next step is to enter your phone number. I found this step the less needed one, and even though cryptocurrency transactions are allowed in Hungary this requirement made me feel a bit disappointed, because I thought that the main idea of cryptocurrencies is that you can initiate transactions without uncovering your identity. If the operator of the machine has a list of all wallet addresses and the corresponding phone numbers, then how can we talk about secrecy? I think obtaining all personal data from a mobile network provider with a phone number provided is a matter of time only. Therefore if you want to protect your identity, I would definitely not recommend the cryptocurrency ATMs in Budapest.

2. Fees when purchasing Bitcoin in Budapest

Speaking of the fees, for me they were in the acceptable range. The machines I have tested had a 500 Hungarian forint fixed tariff, which is roughly 2 USD irrespective of the amount you want to buy. Obviously this might change in the future and the rate they use to exchange HUF into BTC and the other way around might be altered so make sure you always check this numbers when using these machines.

3. Withdrawing cash in Budapest from Bitcoin ATMs

This step is very similar to the previous one. You have to choose the “Sell Bitcoin” option and go through the same tedious verification procedure. This means that yes, you have to register your phone number in order to avoid suspected money laundering issues. Then you have to choose the number of Bitcoin you want to sell, or in other words the amount of cash you want to withdraw from the machine.

Withdrawing cash from a Bitcoin ATM in Budapest

The machine will then print a voucher for you with a QR code on it. This can be used to transfer the required amount of Bitcoins to the machine. You can scan this code with your wallet application to send the coins onto the Blockchain and as soon as the transaction is verified you will receive a short message from the operator saying that the cash is ready to be withdrawn from the ATM. I wish I didn’t have to register my phone number and I could just check the transaction on a Blockchain explorer by myself.

Anyway, you go to the machine, choose the “Redeem Ticket” option and the machine will dispense your cash.

4. Language and currency support

The Bitcoin ATMs in Budapest usually support Hungarian, German and English so they are available for a very large user base. Speaking of the currencies, the machines usually accept both Euros and Hungarian forints. Sometimes even though you set the language to Hungarian for example the screen displays both Hungarian and English text, which is a little bit clumsy. This should be definitely improved.

Language support of Bitcoin ATMs in Budapest

With the cryptocurrency ATMs in Budapest you can trade Bitcoin and other altcoins as well. Among the altcoins are Ethereum and LiteCoin.

5. The location of the ATMs in Budapest

Most of these machines are located in central Budapest and they are easy to locate for foreigners too. One of the machines I visited was in a burger shop, so this was an ideal place to withdraw cash from the machine because I could try their burger while I was waiting for the verification of my transaction.

Another machine was in an office building, and the ATMs are usually under surveillance.

6. Bitcoin ATMs in Austria

I only had a chance to visit the Austrian capital to check out the machines there. There are not many cryptocurrency ATMs in Vienna, but the ones I found were absolutely perfect for the purpose of withdrawing local money and buying Bitcoin.

A Bitcoin ATM in Vienna

I think one of the most famous cryptocurrency stores is located in central Vienna and it is called The House of Nakamoto. What a nice name!

This place has a two-way cryptocurrency ATM, which means that you can withdraw Euros if you have Bitcoin and you can also buy Bitcoins if you have Euros.

The best thing when using this ATM was that I didn’t have to register my phone number for verification purposes. I loved this. So the transaction was completely anonymous.

For example when you want to buy Bitcoins using this ATM you have to accept the Terms and Conditions, but after that you just have to scan your wallet’s address, insert your cash and that’s it. Okay, you might have to wait for a little while until your transaction is verified but no more steps!

7. The fees when buying Bitcoin in Vienna

When you accept the Terms and Conditions the machine will display the transaction fee that will be automatically deducted from the transferred amount.

Unfortunately the Terms and Conditions were in German, but if I understood well the transaction fee is 5% of the total amount.

8. Language and currency support

The machines in Vienna accept Euro notes and there are only two options to choose from when you want to set languages. These are English and German. The machines not only support Bitcoin transactions, but you can trade altcoins for cash using the Austrian cryptocurrency ATMs. I found that Bitcoin, Ethereum, LiteCoin and DASH were among the supported currencies.

9. Cryptocurrency ATMs in the Czech Republic

The crypto scene in Czechia is pretty active. I could find a few machines in the capital of the Czech republic and I could even compare two ATM providers. I was familiar with the machines provided by General Bytes, but the machine from WBTCB was completely new for me.

A Bitcoin ATM in Prague

The Czech machines have their own peculiarities, but the way you buy and sell your cryptos with these machines is pretty much the same as you would do it in Hungary or Austria.

On my first day in the Czech capital, Prague I found an older machine from General Bytes and even though it was a one-way machine it had a very interesting characteristic. This was the number of supported languages. This machine supports more than 16 languages, including Japanese and Korean.

On my second day, I could find a two-way machine from General Bytes and I managed to buy and sell cryptocurrency with this ATM as well.

On my third day, I found a machine from another provider, WBTCB and I used this machine for the same purpose as the other ones.

10. Fees when using cryptocurrency ATMs in the Czech Republic

The amount you lose when you are using these machines in Prague is completely different based on the location. I found this very interesting and this is I guess attributable to the newly born liberal financial market we are all experiencing with the introduction of cryptos.

Transaction fees in Prague

So the first machine at the main railway station had a fixed fee of 100 Czech crowns, roughly 4.5 USD and it said in the Terms and Conditions that they will deduct an additional 5%.

When I used the second machine, the same Terms and Conditions said 100 Czech crowns and 3%. These are machines from the same provider. Interesting, isn’t it?

A WBTCB machine in Prague

As for the third one, it had no fixed fee, but when I calculated the amount of transferred Bitcoin using the daily market rate I detected a loss of roughly 5%.

11. Supported currencies and languages

So the first machine at the train station supports several languages and as far as I know only Bitcoin. transactions are available.

The newer ones from General Bytes have Czech, English, German, Spanish and Slovak language options. Speaking of the available altcoins, it supports LiteCoin, Ethereum, Lightning Bitcoin and Monero as well. So if you want to trade different types of altcoins, then definitely go to the Czech Republic! Where else can you buy and sell Monero if not in Prague?

The WBTCB machine has English, Polish, Czech and Slovak languages installed and it only supports Bitcoin transactions.

This is what I could achieve in 2-3 months, considering that my travel options were kind of limited due to the coronavirus crisis. Stay tuned for the next post!

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