The world’s first Bitcoin ATM machine will power up tomorrow near a downtown Vancouver coffee shop. The Vancouver-based bitcoin exchange site Bitcoiniacs is behind the move, and as recently as September it said would place the ATMs in five Canadian cities.
Bitcoiniacs is Vancouver’s first physical bitcoin exchange with a mission to make buying and selling bitcoins safe and secure, and purchased the machines from Las Vegas-based Robocoin for $18,500 each. Robocoin first unveiled its Bitcoin-spitting machine at San Jose’s Bitcoin 2013 event in May.
Bitcoins are the most popular digital currency that was originally only embraced by hardcore computer geeks, but gradually started appealing to those likely tired of economic meltdowns throughout the world fuelled by irresponsible central bankers.
According to Wired, the Robocoin ATMs makes a trade on Canada’s VirtEx exchange and can transfer bitcoins into a person’s online bitcoin wallet. It also performs a palm scan to prevent people from doing more than $3,000 worth of transactions, which is a no-no according to Canada’s anti-money-laundering laws.
Bitcoiniacs cofounder Mitchell Demeter started the company with two high school friends from Sechelt, British Columbia, launching a few months ago. Their idea remains to build a series of bitcoin exchange shops across Canada and Demeter told Wired that the Robocoins ATMs are “basically our store, but automated,”.
The coffee shop that will host the ATM is a Waves coffee house, one location among many of the popular coffee chain in Vancouver. The store owner Judy Fujiki doubles as a high school teacher, and described her colleagues’ reactions to her investment decision as “horrified”, according to Wired.
The Waves location actually hosts a weekly bitcoin meetup where fans can swap currencies for the digital currency, as well as purchase things from the coffee shop.
Demeter will likely charge a three percent commission on transactions from the machines, which can exchange bitcoins for dollars, and vice versa.
Bitcoin supporters have certainly been relentless in their pursuit to see the virtual currency as a regularly traded form of money. But that scenario, with huge amount of the world’s population embracing bitcoins, is years away if at all possible.
In April the currency hit an all-time high, trading at $266, just months after it was trading at just $20. But hours after its historic high it fell to $130 unfortunately.
One month before that in March, a Canadian man living in Alberta listed his house for sale, at $405,000 Canadian or $6,000 bitcoins.