Seattle and Austin will soon become the first US cities with bitcoin ATMs, provided everything goes according to plan.
The machines are coming from ATM manufacturer Robocoin and the company claims they will be installed by the end of the month, Reuters reports.
Robocoin ATMs are more elaborate than their Lamassu counterparts. They are cash-only machines and they have a few additional security features, such as biometric and optical scanners.
In theory, this should allow much higher levels of security than regular ATMs. The barcode scanner can be used to scan QR codes and transfer bitcoins to your mobile. The ATMs can also scan government issued IDs, including driver’s licences.
First in the US
Robocoin ATMs have been deployed in several markets, including Canada. However, in other parts of the world deployment has proved problematic. Robocoin was supposed to install ATMs in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but Taiwanese authorities quickly moved to block the deployment of machines to the island nation.
This should not be the case in Austin or Seattle, but there is still a lot of regulatory ambiguity. It all boils down to how the authorities choose to classify the Robocoin contraptions; they can view them as kiosks, ATMs or even vending machines that dispense a commodity in the form of bitcoins.
Singapore and London
In related news, Bitcoiniacs are planning to install Robocoin ATMs in both London and Singapore by mid-March. London is currently witnessing three different bitcoin startups racing to install the city's first bitcoin ATM.
Singapore was chosen by Bitcoiniacs due to its relatively clear rules on bitcoin taxation, and of course the city’s trend setting image in much of Asia. As a major regional financial hub, Singapore remains the logical choice for good PR.
Seattle Image via Shutterstock