Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

October 31, 2013

Vancouver Gets World's First Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoins have officially gone from a currency that only the super Internet nerd knew about to something you can get out of an ATM. At least you can get your bitcoin balance out of one particular ATM in Vancouver, Canada. This particular ATM might be the first of its kind, but is most likely heralding the next big thing in mobile commerce.

Earlier this week, the ATM officially went live, making it possible to exchange your personal Bitcoin balance for actual cash. Until this ATM was actually turned on, Bitcoin existed almost entirely among the Internet. In some regards, the digital currency underlined the very essence of mobile commerce, because you could only exchange it using a mobile device or computer. The value of Bitcoins has swung wildly from one end of an admittedly small spectrum to the other, and yet very few people completely understand why.

As the online currency went from being relatively unknown, to a way some people claim they’ve made their fortunes, the business world has looked to gain a foot in the door. ForexMinute is one such company looking to take advantage of trading the currency thanks to the announcement of a new Bitcoin Affiliate program.

Until now, trading and spending of Bitcoin currency had largely been done on peer-to-peer networks and sometimes in person-to-person meetups. The new Vancouver ATM means that people can now make a withdrawal while they are running their afternoon errands. A Nevada-based company known as Robocoin is in charge of this ATM. There are plans to erect four more around Canada.

Canada is apparently a better test market for these kinds of ATMs compared to the US, according to the company. In order to use the Bitcoin ATM, a customer has to do a palm scan and then put as much as $3,000 per day into the machine. That money can then be used to trade on Canada’s VirtEx exchange, moving those trades into your Bitcoin wallet. Robocoin owner Mitchell Demeter says that the palm scan is so that no one runs afoul of Canada’s money laundering laws.

This sort of practice is new enough that some wonder how legal this practice can really be. Demeter believes Robocoin has followed the law of the land to the point where everything is above board.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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