Money Spinners: New Bitcoin ATM Varieties Appearing

Jon Southurst
May 2, 2014 at 23:54 UTC
Updated May 3, 2014 at 02:48 UTC

From full exchange machines to one-way dispensers, CoinDesk brings you the latest in bitcoin automated service news from around the world.

The past week saw some new brands arriving on the scene, in another sign the bitcoin ATM space is beginning to diversify beyond just a few manufacturers.

The ATMs, also known as kiosks or vending machines depending on the jurisdiction, are not only putting more bitcoins into more wallets and eliminating some of the hassle of verifying accounts at online exchanges, but are also serving a secondary function as electronic ambassadors, educating the public about digital currencies and sparking curiosity simply by sitting there.

Seattle, WA

Seattle’s first bitcoin machine is one of the more ‘traditional’ types: A Robocoin operated by CoinMe at the Spitfire Grill restaurant. The machine’s palm scanner is operational as a customer-identifying measure and it has a limit of $3,000 in exchanges per user per day.

CoinMe’s General Manager, Nick Hughes, said his aim is also to use the Robocoin to educate and inform, telling Geekwire:

“People need to be able to talk about this and be educated about it […] They need to hear about the risk and rewards from credible people.”

Saskatoon, SK Canada

Edmonton-based company Bitcoin Solutions also has the motto ‘buy, sell, learn’ and will install Saskatchewan’s first machine this coming week at a location on Saskatoon’s Broadway Ave. Not only is the ‘BTM’ one of the newer varieties but it’s also home-grown, produced by Ottawa manufacturer BitAccess.

According to this news report, the city was chosen due to its large population of younger people.

BitAccess’ co-founder Haseeb Awan said its units are compliant with FinCEN and FinTRAC guidelines and offer three layers of KYC depending on the transaction volume. Transactions below $3,000 require verification via a code sent to a telephone number, while transactions over $3,000 require ID and those over $10,000 must be reported to FinCEN or FinTRAC.

The company has also demonstrated its machines in the Canadian Senate and manufactures them in its clients’ local markets. It currently has customers in eight countries and is expanding.

Bitcoin Solutions has previously opened another machine in Edmonton and is looking to expand to other Canadian cities in the near future.

Japan

For a country that teems with gadgets, geeks and bankers, Japan has been a little slow to jump on the bitcoin ATM bandwagon. It could be the lack of regulatory clarity and Japanese language software on the current range of popular ATMs, but that is changing.

Reports from the Wall Street Journal and TV Tokyo (video has since been removed) show Japan’s first Robocoin, which is on a promotional tour. While it accepts Japanese yen, the main interface is still in English. There has been some progress on the regulatory front, however, with authorities taking a similar approach to that of Singapore: Bitcoin is not regarded as ‘money’ and thus will not be regulated, leading to a more hands-off approach.

When asked how many Robocoin machines his company intended to ship to Japan, CEO Jordan Kelley replied: “As many as the Japanese market can bear.”

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam now also has its own bitoin kiosk and once again, it’s a newer variety. The manufacturer this time is BTC-O-Matic, a company that produces a range of different one and two-way bitcoin-dispensing devices. The one that began operating on 30th April is the ‘DualFly’ model, and a sample of the company’s other products is in this video. It is located three minutes away from Amsterdam’s Centraal district.

 

Dubai, UAE

Dubai startup Umbrellab is reportedly going ahead with plans to introduce over 300 bitcoin machines, by adding the feature to existing payment kiosks. This strategy led to some initial confusion over whether the machines were indeed bitcoin kiosks, but Umbrellab says it is able to do so.

The first demonstration model is in an office in the Dubai Media City technology zone, with hundreds more to follow shortly.

According to this report in the United Arab Emirates’ largest newspaper, the Middle East could be fertile ground for a technology like bitcoin due to its large young population, and high number of foreign workers who often don’t have full access to traditional banking services.

Saskatoon image via Shutterstock

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