Following the launch of its new bitcoin ATM, visitors to Google's 'Campus London' co-working space will now be able to buy bitcoin and spend the cryptocurrency on a coffee or muffin.
While the machine does not collect identity information currently, it is equipped to do so should future regulation demand 'know your customer' data.
Bitbuddy is run and self-funded by Myles Cirjanic-Edwards, a recent economics graduate and early investor in bitcoin, who said he is planning to install a second BitAccess machine in London in the coming months.
Cirjanic-Edwards added he is also planning a mobile app to cut down or eliminate the time users must take to input their wallet information at the ATM.
Easing the purchase process
The Wyre app, used by the Campus cafe to accept bitcoin payments, is aimed at merchants and their customers.
When a user buys, say, a cup of coffee with bitcoin, the transaction receipt appears on the Wyre app for both the merchant and the customer.
To set up, merchants must to set up a wallet and download Wyre for their store. They are then listed on a map included in the app, that allows potential customers to see which establishments in an area take bitcoin.
Wyre is pitched as the "Foursquare for bitcoin" by its co-founder Edward Moyse, who said:
"We want to make [paying with bitcoin] as easy as checking in to a place."
Novelly, perhaps, Moyse and partner Harry Huang plan to build 'gamification' elements into the payment process. This would allow customers to earn points or badges for completing certain actions, such as buying coffee from five cafes in a given area – much like Foursquare offered before its recent revamp.
Wyre is less than three months old and currently has only one merchant signed up: the Campus cafe. However, Moyse said more merchants will be added soon.
Google Campus is open to registered users, who can pay to rent dedicated space in the seven-storey building located in Shoreditch, the part of East London known as 'Silicon Roundabout'.
Google Campus had more than 22,000 registered users last year and more than 100,000 visitors, who attend the regular events held there, according to its 2013 annual report.
While bitcoin ATMs are fairly rare across the rest of the UK, Shoreditch can now boast four machines run by various operators, including SatoshiPoint and Cointrader.