Robocoin Launches Custom Bitcoin Wallet Targeting Underbanked

Pete Rizzo
Sep 30, 2014 at 20:00 UTC
Updated Oct 2, 2014 at 10:59 UTC

Robocoin

Robocoin has announced the launch of a custom bitcoin wallet for consumers called the Robocoin Wallet.

The move finds the Las Vegas-based bitcoin services company in the midst of its ongoing evolution away from the bitcoin vending machines that dominate the bitcoin ATM market and toward a global remittance and bitcoin banking platform it calls “Robocoin 2.0”, first announced in June.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley indicated that the Robocoin Wallet will allow the company to bring more of the essential services for its planned bitcoin banking and remittance network under its direct supervision – a step that will be key in helping the company ensure its service remains as user-friendly as possible.

Kelley said:

“What we’re talking about is a fully enterprise, fully functional global wallet with a full kiosk and bitcoin ATM built into it. What that means for customers is it’s no longer about having to have your external bitcoin wallet and having to be at the whims of the existing bitcoin infrastructure.”

Kelley indicated that the wallet is essential to creating a harmonious experience for Robocoin users across its web and mobile platforms.

Emphasising cash advantage

Kelley explained that the principal selling point unique to the new product is the ability for wallet users to instantly convert bitcoins to cash at its locations around the globe:

“Now, if I want some cash, I’m no longer sending bitcoin to the machine and waiting for the confirmation and then going back and scanning a receipt. All I’m doing is I walk up to the machine, tap ‘withdraw’, I pick how much money I want and it instantly cashes out.”

Robocoin’s wallet will be initially available to all of the company’s existing users, who can sign up on the company’s website. New customers can sign up from Tuesday at the company’s ‘Robocoin Branch’ (ATM) locations in Los Angeles, Mountain View and Las Vegas, and soon after at branches worldwide.

Removing barriers to entry

The new product is part of a broader move by the company to use its Robocoin ATMs as an onramp to the digital currency ecosystem. As such, Kelley told CoinDesk that it is looking to develop a suite of in-house solutions that free it from third-party relationships that have in the past created operational difficulties.

Kelley described early interactions between customers and bitcoin ATM operators as falling short of the intended user experience, as operators struggled to explain transaction delays from major exchanges to new users.

He recalled:

“There was just so much stuff outside of our control and really the customers were the ones that had the [poor] experience, and really Robocoin [too], since we’re the ones who had to deal with the support.”

By delivering a wallet secured by two-factor authentication and with SMS money-sending capabilities, the company now aims to improve the wallet experience as well, as customers will no longer need to protect their private keys or navigate complex addresses.

In addition to its consumer wallets, Robocoin kiosks will also be powered by the company’s previously announced operator wallets, which use an API to automatically replenish funds purchased from exchanges.

Remittance network still in progress

Kelley also discussed the progress his company has made in the months since first announcing its ambitions to pivot toward positioning itself as more than a bitcoin ATM operator and service provider.

Notably, Kelley suggested that, despite his company’s aspirations, he believes capitalizing on his company’s vision for a global remittance network is still far off.

However, he believes Robocoin has the tools to capture this market, saying:

“It would be very difficult to imagine a remittance population sending bitcoin or sending money to and from private keys, so honestly we’re not seeing remittance, but we believe we can beat Western Union on the fees – we can certainly beat them on the customer experience.”

Kelley concluded by reiterating his belief that Robocoin will one day be able to make more effective commerce possible for the millions of underbanked consumers around the world, and that the firm remains committed to capturing this market segment.

Images via Robocoin