A Singapore company has created a way for customers to buy gold and silver directly from a Lamassu bitcoin ATM.
Quantified Assets, a bitcoin-to-precious metals brokerage, has a prototype machine set up in Singapore's HackerspaceSG, which it is using as a showcase to offer its front-end interface to all 118 Lamassu operators worldwide.
Founder and CEO Ville Oehman told CoinDesk the first request from another Lamassu operator came within ten minutes of announcing the service.
The company has added the functionality by building its own fork of Lamassu's software, which is open source. The ATM manufacturer has given its blessing to the extensions.
Precious metal purchasing is just one of many potential enhancements to the services bitcoin machines like Lamassu's offer, Oehman said.
"Bitcoin vending machines are a great interface to the bitcoin ecosystem, and in the future they will provide a lot more functionalities ... like sending money abroad."
Lamassu CEO Zach Harvey said the company is in communication with Quantitative Assets and will work with its team to get the service integrated with its main platform, so all operators would have the chance to enjoy it.
"We're excited to see what they've done and how they're received," he added.
He did, however, caution against completely replacing the official Lamassu software. While the company is in favor of third parties developing further capabilities for its machines, he said, the company is unable to provide upgrades or support in such cases.
How the process works
The process works as follows: a customer selects 'Buy Gold/Silver' from the ATM's main screen, creates a QR code and supplies an email address. Quantified Assets then creates an account for them which can be accessed from its site.
Next, the customer scans the QR code and inserts their money – the machine's interface will show the current conversion rate.
Finally, the customer receives a receipt for the purchase of the amount of metal their money has bought – this is typically a fraction of a gold bar, Oehman said.
Quantified, one of the oldest bitcoin businesses in Singapore, is a bitcoin-to-metals only service. A customer inserting fiat currency into a Lamassu machine has their money converted first to bitcoin, which is then processed as a purchase of metal for bitcoin.
The physical metal itself is stored with "with reputable, fully insured and fully audited storage providers" in Singapore, as per Quantified's customer conditions. It is fully compliant with all Singapore's KYC-AML procedures.
The company has also developed an online platform for 'crowd-buying' gold and silver, which can also be used to access and manage metal assets purchased via Lamassu machines.
Bitcoin, Singapore and hard assets
Singapore has in recent years established itself as a popular valuable asset logistics and vault storage location, even establishing a free port near Changi Airport and a special police force for its international clientele.
Quantified Assets says it plans to integrate hard assets other than just gold and silver into the bitcoin ecosystem, and is in the process of partnering with additional precious metals platforms and vaults to offer increased investment and storage options to its international customers.
"We are specifically looking for partners in China, Russia and UAE at this time," Oehman said.