Money Spinners: Canada to Grow Its Already Prominent ATM Presence

Jon Southurst
May 10, 2014 at 13:10 UTC
Updated Aug 20, 2014 at 17:26 UTC

It’s been a relatively quiet week on the ATM front. In the world of bitcoin, though, no news is often good news.

The fact that ATM installations no longer grab the headlines like they used to is a healthy sign of the times, and an indication that the machines are becoming commonplace.

Digital currency vending machines are by no means ubiquitous, however, and there are still plenty of folks who’ve never laid eyes on one. But, just remember how many there were in November last year, and you’ll see how far we’ve come.

New terminology

There has even been a move away from the term ‘ATM’ as of late. Perhaps it’s due to regulation, perhaps the expression just doesn’t describe accurately what these machines do. With everything from one-way bitcoin-dispensing machines to quasi-bank branches, it’s become a broad field.

So, whenever you see the term ‘BTM’, ‘kiosk’, ‘vending machine’ or ‘ATM’, understand we’re talking about some kind of machine that will at least take your cash and bring you into the bitcoin economy.

While most bitcoin enthusiasts see digital currency as a move away from the banks, Robocoin has decided to head completely in the opposite direction. The company now refers to its machines as ‘branches‘, to buy and sell as ‘deposit’ and ‘withdraw’, and to customer bitcoin addresses as ‘accounts’.

Some observers said it was a crazy move, inviting greater scrutiny and regulation, but Robocoin insists it knows what it’s doing.

And now, onto this week’s news, breaking with tradition slightly to include up and coming launches, as well as existing ones.

This week we have another strong showing from the spiritual home of all bitcoin ATMs, Canada.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Local company Autocoinage is deploying two bitcoin vending machines in the Greater Montreal area for launch on 1st June and promises three more soon, including a two-way (BTC-CAD) bitcoin ATM.

As Bernie Ng, Autocoinage’s owner pointed out:

“There must be an easier, faster and secured way to purchase bitcoin with very low or nearly no commission.”

Autocoinage eventually plans to launch 10 machines in the Montreal and Ottawa area, and asks people to check its website for announcements of future locations.

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

BitSent is a company from Waterloo, Ontario, with ambitions to become Canada’s largest bitcoin ATM operator.

It plans to launch its first bitcoin ‘Automated Vending Machine’ (AVM) in Mississauga, Ontario, later this month. The machine will be sited at the Link It Up cell phone store (2500 Hurontario, Unit 10A at Dundas St W) – with whom BitSent has a partnership – and available for use during the store’s operating hours seven days a week.

Karen Williamson, BitSent’s COO, told CoinDesk:

“We look forward to forging more partnerships across Canada in 2014 and bringing bitcoin to a community near you.”

BitSent is also developing a new interface specific for Canadian users that includes the French and Mandarin languages, as well as English – a more common sight on Canada’s ‘mainstream’ bank ATMs.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Liberty Teller, the company that first introduced bitcoin ATMs to the US, is doing it again with a new installation at restaurant Moksa in central Cambridge, MA – very close to the MIT campus where students will be receiving $100 worth of bitcoin in a campaign to invigorate the cryptocurrency economy.

Liberty Teller Powers YimPowers and Yim, Liberty Teller founders

Co-founder Kyle Powers and Chris Yim say they are looking to solve what many believe are bitcoin’s biggest near-term problems: access and education.

“Before bitcoin goes mainstream, getting and using bitcoin needs to be as simple as possible. Our kiosks and tutorials are helping us make that happen,” Powers explained. He added:

“Bitcoin makes sending money like sending email, and makes our current ways of sending money look like snail mail.”

Images courtesy Liberty Teller website