Bitcoin ATMs go live in the United States

Public access Bitcoin machines are now available for cash deposits but not for withdrawals as yet.

Two companies in America have implemented new Bitcoin ‘ATMs’ making it  easier for the general public to buy the cryptocurrency with physical cash.

Popping up just hours apart in locations in Boston and Albuquerque the machines can currently facilitate cash deposits and Bitcoin withdrawals, but not cash withdrawals, and as such function more like vending machines than conventional ‘hole in the wall’ banking ATMs.

The hardware comes from Lamassu who advise the machines should be run in manned booths. An internal steel vault, which can be bolted to walls, stands and counter-tops helps ensure the security of paper-money deposited into the machines. Beyond this, the firms running the Bitcoin ATMs must front their own Bitcoins via a commercial exchange and are legally required to meet with federal financial strictures intended to prevent money-laundering and other dubious financial activities arising from currency exchange.

Customers will be able to use their pre-existing Bitcoin wallets or set up new ones via the machines and whilst they cannot withdraw real money yet, Liberty Teller, owners of the Boston based machine at least plan to implement automated cash withdrawals in future.

The notion that Bitcoin is here to stay is firmly brought home with the introduction of these new machines. Bitcoin’s audience is now extended to those less tech-savvy members of the public, used to the simplicity of high-street ATMs. Furthermore users who may have previously been put off Bitcoin because they were worried about sharing account information online are now presented with a safe and convenient way to transact.

image: © Zach Copley

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