A Vancouver group is planning to put what's thought to be the world's first Bitcoin ATM into service next week. Putting aside the weird irony of a physical ATM accessing a strictly virtual currency, this got me wondering: would you use a Bitcoin ATM?
Bitcoin's been in the news a lot this week. The FBI just seized Dread Pirate Roberts' virtual cash stash, as part of the Silk Road investigation that's pushed the unregulated, decentralized currency into everyone's view. Now people who've never explored the dark corners of the web are talking about Bitcoin, and the currency's supporters think it's poised to enter mainstream use.
Maybe a walk-up ATM would make this intangible currency a little less mysterious to the uninitiated. The kiosk, built by Nevada-based Robocoin, looks familiar enough to anyone who's set foot in a bank. It lets you deposit, transfer or withdraw money from your Bitcoin purse, using a palm scanner to identify you (and, in Canada, to make sure your deposits stay under $US3000 a day to avoid raising suspicions of money laundering).
Or is this just a fringe piece of equipment? The Bitcoin dispenser slated to debut next week was purchased by the founders of Vancouver Bitcoin exchange Bitcoiniacs, and it's being installed in a cafe owned by another Bitcoin investor. Not exactly regular folks off the street. But could a friendly looking physical ATM turn Bitcoin novices into mining masters? What do you think? [via Daily Dot]