What Does Fiat to Crypto Mean?

Coin Cloud
3 min readApr 1, 2021


How Do You Convert Fiat to Crypto?

If the crypto world wasn’t cryptic enough, along come “mainstream” financial terms that are just as confusing.

We toss around words and phrases like they’re common knowledge, but we realize they’re not when we check what questions our customer service team fields.

One common question is, “What does ‘fiat to crypto’ mean?” And once we explain that, they want to know, “How do you convert fiat to crypto?”

What is Fiat Currency?

Fiat is just mainstream legal tender, or official national currency, issued by governments. This includes the US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, etc.

Fiat isn’t backed by any commodity (so when the USD used to be on the gold standard, it wasn’t fiat). And the material it’s made from isn’t worth anything in and of itself. Instead, the value of fiat currency is determined by supply and demand — and because the government says it’s legal money.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is not a legal tender, and not endorsed or backed by any government. It’s a decentralized digital medium of exchange created by the science of cryptography and executed by computers.

What is Fiat to Crypto?

“Fiat to crypto” means buying cryptocurrency with fiat money … so, for example, buying Bitcoin with USD.

The reason this is even a thing is because a few years ago, many online trading platforms only allowed you to trade crypto for crypto. So if you had Bitcoin you could trade it for Litecoin, or if you had Litecoin you could trade it for Ether. But you couldn’t just buy Ether or Litecoin with USD.

There were a few basic exchanges with limited options that let you buy bitcoin only, but you would have to transfer that bitcoin to a crypto-to-crypto platform (which often took days) if you wanted to own any altcoins. So when more advanced online exchanges were built, they would boast the “fiat to crypto” exchange possibilities as a feature that set them apart.

While that seems a little surprising now — because, after all, Bitcoin ATMs have always offered a fiat-to-crypto solution — that’s how the online world used to work. One platform to purchase and another platform to trade.

Fiat to Crypto at a Bitcoin ATM

As hinted, Bitcoin ATMs have always used the fiat-to-crypto model. And a few (like 20%) also allow crypto to fiat, like Coin Cloud machines do. We’ll talk about that more tomorrow.

But whatever way you slice it, the fastest and easiest way to turn fiat to crypto is at a Bitcoin ATM. You just insert your cash, scan your mobile wallet and you own bitcoin or your choice of 30 altcoins. Oh, wait, that part is just Coin Cloud machines too. Most brands only give a few choices, if any.

You can find the nearest Coin Cloud DCM to you with the online locator map, or through the Coin Cloud Wallet app.

Disclaimer: The information and views supplied by Coin Cloud are for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not financial advisors, so please do your research and consult with a trusted financial specialist before investing your money.

What is Coin Cloud?
Coin Cloud is a digital currency machine (DCM) company founded in 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. With over 1,600 locations nationwide, Coin Cloud is the world’s largest and fastest-growing network of two-way DCMs, a more advanced version of the Bitcoin ATM. Over 60% of all two-way bitcoin machines in the US are Coin Cloud DCMs, empowering you to quickly and easily buy and sell 30+ virtual currency options with cash. You can find your
nearest Coin Cloud DCM here.



Coin Cloud

The world’s leading operator of two-way Digital Currency Machines (DCMs), more advanced Bitcoin ATMs.