The First Bitcoin ATM

Could this be the stepping stone to the exchange of completely electronic currency?

Bitcoin ATM


VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A silver and blue ATM, perched up next to the espresso bar in a trendy Vancouver coffee shop, could launch a new era for
the digital currency bitcoin, offering an almost instant way to exchange the world’s leading virtual money for cash.

The value of a bitcoin soared from $13 in January to a high of $266 in April as more businesses and consumers used them to buy and sell online. Some investors are also treating bitcoins like gold, using them to hedge against currency fluctuations and speculating on their rise.

The kiosk, which looks like the average ATM but with hand and barcode scanners, opened for business on Tuesday and by mid-morning people were lined up to swap their bitcoins for cash, or to deposit cash to buy more bitcoins.

“It’s as easy as walking up to a machine, scanning your hand, entering some cash and buying bitcoin,” said Jordan Kelley, chief executive of Las Vegas-based Robocoin, the company that builds the ATMs. “With this, it’s a 2-minute process. For any online exchange, it’s at least two days.”

Bitcoins, currently worth about $210 each, can be transferred without going through banks or clearing houses, thereby cutting fees. Users can buy products and services online or in a handful of stores, including the Waves coffee shop where the ATM is.

With the bitcoin ATM, users scan their hand to confirm identity, then funds move to or from a virtual wallet on their smartphone. The system limits transfers to $1,000 a day, in an effort to curb money laundering and other fraud.

Bitcoiniacs, the local dealer that operates the ATM, will roll out four other kiosks across Canada in December. Robocoin said Canada was the ideal place to launch the kiosk due to a critical mass of users and less stringent oversight than in the United States, where the bitcoin trade is monitored by anti-money laundering regulators.

“We think the Vancouver market is enormous and we’re excited to be here,” said Kelley. “By the end 2013, we’ll be all over Canada. By the end of 2014, we’ll be all over the world, including the United States.”

Bitcoin is not a recognized currency in Canada, so Ottawa’s anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, does not monitor its trade.

Still Bitcoiniacs’ founders say they are working with the agency to be ready for when Canada does start regulating them.

“We’re already being proactive in our business,” said Bitcoiniacs co-founder Mitchell Demeter. “We abide by any guidelines they would impose – which includes the ‘know you customer’ laws and anti-money laundering laws.”

10 Comments on "The First Bitcoin ATM"

  1. Haystack | Nov 2, 2013 at 8:38 pm |

    I wonder if Bitcoin, or something like it, could eventually replace the dollar as the global reserve currency.

    • InfvoCuernos | Nov 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm |

      The second that looks likely, there will be a widespread ban on Bitcoin. The reserve would never let that happen. They’d lose all their power and control. They’ll probably say that Bitcoin is used to launder drugs or fund terrorism or some other thing that the Fed will actually be guilty of.

      • sveltesvengali | Nov 3, 2013 at 1:30 am |

        If they did, I suspect the groundwork for that kind of arbitrary categorization has already been lain. Precisely because the main coverage of anything to do with Bitcoin consistently seems to pertain to scandals among the likes of Liberty Reserve and The Silk Road, I suspect that the rare Joe Sixpack who even bothers to make a cursory effort to know what Bitcoin is has probably wrongly been sold on the idea that it’s some kind of a two-bit scam, if not an utterly insidious ploy to defraud people into their own destruction that deserves to be swiftly crushed at a moment’s notice. (Paging FinCEN, the DHS and the FBI…)

        What Joe Sixpack probably isn’t aware of is that the world’s third-largest financial institution, which has more than likely handled any dollar he’s ever spent at some point or another down the line, is already doing just that and more, making any Liberty Reserves or Silk Roads out there rightly seem like a readily contested drop in the pot of transnational vice and social decay. Oh, and they’re largely getting away with it while anyone and everyone with any ostensible authority or even obligation to stop them is making a concerted effort to look the other way ( ).

        …not to mention that even the most enlightened of academics, let alone poor uninformed Joe Sixpack, seemingly remain almost unanimously unaware of a very credible collection of information suggesting that this has been going on in nonchalance for quite some time ( for example: ).

      • DeepCough | Nov 3, 2013 at 2:19 am |

        Yeah, people aren’t supposed to buy their drugs with Bitcoins, they’re supposed to do it with dollars! And after all, you can’t snort your coke with Bitcoins, now can you?

    • Lincoln Chase | Nov 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

      Hopefully! I also believe numerous other countries are moving in the direction of replacing the U.S. dollar as global currency. Maybe, hopefully, the end is in sight for the evil empire!

      • sveltesvengali | Nov 3, 2013 at 1:43 am |

        Not to discourage any viable alternatives to the US dollar as the world reserve currency, but I also remain wary of a world run on the whims of the EU, the Chinese, the BRICS, or even the Swiss (all of whom are candidates who stand to gain the most from any collapse of the US dollar, provided it occurred under just the right circumstances for them), even if they have a currency backed by tangible assets and/or something that isn’t a contested resource like oil (ie., something stable in any event). That just seems like handing over power from one dastardly cabal to the next upstart Bastard Understudy(s) to steer the course of history, financial and otherwise. Of course, I think it stands to reason that any collapse of the US dollar would unfortunately be disastrous for the world as it stands, which is the fly in the ointment for anyone and everyone, Bastard Understudy or not.

        Bitcoin is probably the alternative with the most known, not least credible, social currency out there right now (pardon the pun). All the same, it’s probably a lesser among evils as well, especially if it gets so far as to achieve the status of a world reserve currency. I’m guessing it’s at about that point that you can say “bye-bye” to a non-rigged cryptocurrency that’s gone mainstream, especially if guys like these get their way (no matter how well-intentioned they are!):

        • Lincoln Chase | Nov 4, 2013 at 1:56 am |

          You’ve lived under totalitarianism for so long you are dumb-downed. Why do you insist on living under any corrupt system? The people have the power, if only they will exercise it.

          • sveltesvengali | Nov 4, 2013 at 4:18 am |

            Perhaps the point of my post was lost on you. I’d rather not trade a known one-trick Manipulative Bastard for another potential one if I can help it.

            The question I was posing is what will replace the US dollar and if the world stands to gain or lose from whatever does in both the short-term and the long-run. Absent this, it was also to illustrate that the powers that be have gone to some lengths to rig the US dollar to be the world’s sole credible financial lifeblood and it will undoubtedly be difficult for the world to wean itself off this paradigm without a viable replacement that also stands a likely chance of being rigged in just the same way.

            All the same, no disagreement on what you just said.

        • sveltesvengali | Nov 8, 2013 at 1:17 am |

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