First Bitcoin ATM installed in Vancouver

It makes perfect sense that the first bit of new technology to find its way to California would end up in Silicon Valley. The real surprise is that it didn’t originate there. Rather, Robocoin, the makers of the Bitcoin ATM are a Las Vegas-based company who installed their first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, Canada last October. Since then they have added a second in Canada, installed four in Texas and have shipped ten overseas recently.

Bitcoin ATM

Thanks to the MtGox’s debacle, Robocoin was largely able to do this without notice and away from congressional calls to outlaw the crypto-currency and the witch hunt for the creator of the currency. While millions don’t understand Bitcoin at all, the ATM could in theory make the currency more tangible for many. When people see cash coming out of the machine it can’t help but add “value” to the much-maligned legal(?) tender. While the first to this particular market, the company has found two competitors arrive to the party pretty early in Genesis Coin and Lamassu.

“What the computer and the browser did to the internet is what the Bitcoin ATM and Robocoin in particular are doing to Bitcoin,” said Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley.

Ease of use

Anyone can get their own Bitcoin wallet from the machine, however, in the interest of keeping everything above-board, especially as a start-up, the machine will require government issued identification, a palm print, and a telephone number to verify your identity. The process takes roughly five minutes as your identity is double/triple checked and run against a government watch list owing to the Silk Road affair.

Once an account is created dollars can immediately be turned into Bitcoins. On the opposite side of the virtual coin, withdraws take nearly 10 minutes. “It’s about as fast as the Bitcoin exchange is,” Kelley said.

With the majority of operators making in the neighborhood of $10,000 monthly from their machines, don’t be surprised if you see someone sitting beside the machine when you step up to use it. At least for now, many operators are hiring “tellers” to explain how the machine works.

“By the end of this year, we should be in more countries than Uber,” Kelley said.

Where can I order and operate mine?

via: GigaOm