Bitcoins aren’t easy to buy; especially if you don’t have an existing bitcoin account. BitcoinATM hopes to change that with its new bitcoin cash machine.
The first machine was unveiled on Thursday in San Diego, with BitcoinATM founder and CEO Evan Rose promising that the ATMs will help spearhead widespread adoption of bitcoin.
"Bitcoin is inherently technical, it’s somewhat difficult to buy, it's very difficult to exchange bitcoins for hard currency," Rose said in a presentation to reporters. "The solution we've come up with, in the very familiar ATM platform, accomplishes all three of those bottlenecks."
The ATMs allow three different types of transactions. Users with bitcoin accounts can use cash to buy bitcoins, and the ATMs can also be used to convert bitcoins into hard currency. There's a catch, though. Because bitcoin transactions require network confirmation, it takes about 10 minutes to process the cash. Customers can monitor the status of transactions on their smartphones.
The ATMs also allow users with no bitcoin account to create a new bitcoin address on the machine, Rose said.
"We print out the public receiving address and the private key to receive those funds," he explained. "Anyone with cash can buy bitcoins and hold them in your hand with a paper wallet."
Rose continued, "We've come up with an elegant solution that allows your average person who has no prior knowledge of bitcoin to really delve into the market."
Thursday's event was a demonstration only -- the machines won't be hitting the street for three to six months, Rose estimates.
But he's optimistic, noting the company is currently in talks with large ATM operators.
"There are a lot of ATMs out there," Rose noted. "A switch could be pulled overnight and they would be bilateral market makers for the bitcoin economy."
Asked about recent guidance on the use of bitcoin from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Rose said the company is moving "slowly and cautiously to ensure adherence to regulations." He added that BitcoinATM's goal is to team up with existing ATM providers who already have money transfer licenses in place.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.