Massachusetts Institute of Technology Launches First Bitcoin ATM
Published on June 10, 2014 at 20:10 BST
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is now home to a new Liberty Teller bitcoin ATM, located at the MIT Coop store in Kendall Square, Cambridge, in an installation that marks MIT’s first on-campus bitcoin ATM.
The ATM launch represents another step in the development of what observers have labelled the development of the world’s first "bitcoin economy” at MIT. Other aspects of the initiative include the distribution of $100 in bitcoin to undergraduates this coming fall, as well as the MIT Bitcoin Expo conference held in May.
The MIT Coop is a member profit-sharing cooperative first founded in 1882. The new bitcoin ATM operates Monday through Saturday and is located just inside the entrance.
Liberty Teller co-founder Chris Yim told CoinDesk that the store was a natural fit for the ATM operator given its community-oriented focus, saying:
"Their model is very much in line with the value proposition bitcoin provides for merchants and consumers which is simple, transparent transactions with minimal processing fees."
He added that the Coop is currently looking at accepting bitcoin as a form of payment.
Bitcoin emerges at MIT
Yim explained that the Liberty Teller launch at the Coop makes sense given the broader introduction of bitcoin currently taking place on campus. In addition to the bitcoin distribution, the MIT Bitcoin Project is sponsoring a summer-long app contest.
"With the MIT Bitcoin Project taking place this fall, it made a lot of sense to have a bitcoin ATM right next to campus so people could familiarize themselves with or acquire bitcoin in advance of the distribution."
Yim added that interest on the part of the MIT bitcoin community led to the Coop's decision to launch the bitcoin ATM. He added that Liberty Teller is working with the MIT Bitcoin Project on a number of plans, with the ATM installation at the Coop forming one part of the on-campus bitcoin expansion.
Bitcoin takes root in Cambridge
The Liberty Teller ATM at the Coop may the first on-campus machine, but it isn’t Liberty Teller’s first foray into the broader Boston community.
In May, Liberty Teller celebrated the launch of an ATM at restaurant Moska in Cambridge. The pan-Asian tapas establishment is located just off campus, and is in prime position to offer services to a bitcoin-enhanced community.
Moska is one of several local businesses that have begun accepting bitcoin, making the Coop-based ATM the right move for the community, explained Liberty Teller co-founder Kyle Powers, who stated:
"There are now local merchants directly accepting bitcoin for payment for everything from dumplings to cocktails to tax advice. We are still in the very early days, but momentum is strong."
Liberty Teller has launched its ATMs elsewhere in Boston, including temporary installations in Harvard Station and South Station.
The Liberty Teller ATM at MIT joins a growing pantheon of machines worldwide, which can be found on CoinDesk’s global bitcoin ATM map.
MIT campus via Shutterstock
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