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A two-way Robocoin bitcoin ATM has just landed on the shores of England, thanks to the efforts of Global Bitcoin ATM, a UK-based company. Located at Worldwide Connection, an Internet cafe in Holborn, central London, it is the first Robocoin machine in Europe and the first two-way ATM in the UK capital.
Getting it here wasn’t the easiest process, though, says Global Bitcoin ATM’s co-founder Jean Paul. It took the company over four months to order, receive and ship the machine across the pond.
“We thought it was a great business idea. We wondered, ‘Is anyone is doing that? No they’re not? Let’s go!’ So we scraped together some money and ordered a machine. And then we’ve had a long, long wait for delivery.”
Paul made the initial order in December, hoping to be the first team to bring a bitcoin ATM to the UK, but FutureCoin’s Joel Raziel beat them to it, launching a Lamassu machine last month. That machine was installed at a trendy bar in London’s Shoreditch area.
The Old Shoreditch Station Cafe had already been accepting bitcoin for drinks and coffee when Raziel decided it was the perfect place for his ATM.
“I wanted my ATM to be more than just a cash-taking functional machinery stuck in an exchange office or an airport,” said Raziel.
“I wanted it to be more of an experience. The reason I chose the Old Shoreditch Station is because it’s more than just a venue for my ATM. It’s a real meeting spot for bitcoin enthusiasts who can pay for their coffee or cocktails with bitcoins and it’s a real hot bed of creativity in East London.”
Raziel’s ATM has been live since early March and sees roughly 10 transactions per day.
Competition heats up
While the Lamassu did enjoy being the London’s lone wolf for a brief spell, it now has to contend with some serious competition from its Robocoin rival. Lamassu is a great option for those people who want their bitcoin instantly – just scan your QR code, pop in your cash and receive your bitcoin in your digital wallet.
The Robocoin machine is a little more demanding, featuring a palm scanner to identify the user and regulate their daily transaction limit. However, it’s also two-way, which could prove to be a big advantage for Paul and his team. Said Paul:
“We decided to go with RoboCoin because it’s two-way. We know there’ll be a demand for selling your bitcoin and we wanted a machine that […] people can just know that if they are short of money they can sell their bitcoin.”
He also emphasized that the machine’s anti-money laundering (AML) and ‘know your customer’ (KYC) features attracted them to the product. The Robocoin machine was funded by Lebanese investor Antoun Toubia, who was given the honours of cutting the ribbon off the machine for his fiscal input.
An excited crowd gathered to use the machine at its launch this afternoon, although not everyone was impressed with the lengthy registration process. Simon Dixon from Bank to the Future was the first person to use the ATM. After he successfully registered, he purchased bitcoin worth £10, he said.
Global Bitcoin ATM said it will charge a 7% commission on all transactions via the Robocoin machine. Until now, Raziel had been trading at 8%, but, following the arrival of the competition, he plans to lower that rate to 5% starting next week. He is, however, excited to welcome more competition because it will be good for the entire bitcoin ecosystem.
“We’re very excited about the new ATM competition in London. I think one ATM can slip through the public net, but with several ATMs all across the city, I think it’ll do very well for all our businesses.”
Meanwhile, a third player is going to enter this competition later this month. SatoshiPoint aims to install its first bitcoin ATM at Nin Com Soup within Old Street tube station. The restaurant itself will also start accepting bitcoin around the same time. SatoshiPoint is a UK-based bitcoin kiosk company using the Robocoin KYC and AML platform.