Bitcoin ATM provider Robocoin enters a new phase of its growth today with the announcement of 'Robocoin 2.0’, featuring a totally new software platform, alongside improved hardware and extra features aimed at the global banking and remittance markets.
With the announcement, the Las Vegas-based manufacturer takes a big step toward towards its previously stated ambition to make bitcoin more user-friendly for mass-market consumers and its aim to provide financial services for the world's underbanked.
Repositioning itself more as a bank with 'branches' instead of ATMs, Robocoin is offering a variety of online accounts for merchants, brokers and general customers.
Allowing users access to the company's machines in all of the 13 countries it currently covers, Robocoin accounts also feature integral bitcoin wallets, removing the need to use wallet QR codes or addresses when depositing or withdrawing.
With public confidence in centralised bitcoin companies at a low following notable collapses like Mt. Gox, the company insists that customers’ bitcoins are "securely stored" in a Robocoin wallet "built on industry leading multi-sig architecture with 100% provable reserves and offline cold storage".
Another issue that has plagued users of both bitcoin ATMs and merchant point-of-sales systems is the potentially long wait while transactions are confirmed on the block chain. Robocoin now sidesteps this issue completely by taking transaction off-block chain, promising that ATM customers can access their accounts and "get cash and bitcoin instantly".
The company's ATMs accept and dispense 12 national currencies worldwide and can now be used to send money to anyone using only their phone number or email address, even if they haven't signed up for a Robocoin account. Recipients need merely to visit the local 'branch' to pick up their cash.
With traditional remittance providers such as MoneyGram and Western Union currently reaping vast profits in transfer fees – estimated at around $500bn a year – such a service could see significant savings for workers sending money back home to families.
"Our goal is to make storing and sending money faster, friendlier, cheaper and easier than any other company in the world," said Jordan Kelley, Robocoin's CEO, adding:
"Robocoin is expanding the bitcoin market by making it easier. No more downloading a digital wallet, storing a private key, or remembering public addresses. New technology and terminology mean secure deposits, instant withdraws, and the easiest way to send money worldwide."
Along with its announcement of its new platform, Robocoin has also announced a slashed price on its standard bitcoin ATM, plus two new machines with extra features to facilitate security and speedy transactions.
Having reached new scale milestones and improved its supply chain, the company has now dropped the base price for its Robocoin Classic unit from $20,000 to $15,000, while reassuring operators that its ATMs are still made with "top-of-the line, bank-grade hardware".
Robocoin is also launching a range of 'recycling' ATMs, which feature the ability to dispense the cash they accept.
This, in turn, reduces the need for frequent restocking and the security risks involved with regularly handling cash in a public-facing premises. The new hardware handles notes more quickly, further speeding up customer transactions.
The company's $20,000 base model, the Robocoin Recycler, can accept two bills per second and can dispense at a rate of 1.6 notes per second. In addition, it can hold up to 1,900 notes, the company said.
Its premium counterpart, the Robocoin Recycler Max ($35,000) provides a 100-note batch acceptor and can accept and dispense at a "market-leading" rate of eight bills per second. It can hold 8,300 notes and recycles 6,000 with three different denominations, Robocoin claims, adding that this is the most premium bitcoin ATM in the world.
Robocoin ATMs employ biometric authentication technology, as well as phone and PIN authentication, to protect user accounts and where necessary comply with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations.
Competitor Lamassu promises bitcoin-to-fiat transactions in under 15 seconds, and currently accepts notes from 200 countries worldwide. The company recently introduced an optional ATM stand that allows two-way transactions.