CANADA-US-TECHNOLOGY-BITCOIN-ATM-SCIENCE
Deborah Jones/AFP/Getty ImagesA bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, Canada.
By Phil Wahba

Robocoin late this month plans to install the first ATMs in the U.S. that let users buy and sell bitcoin, the latest step into the mainstream for the digital currency, the company said Tuesday.

The kiosks, to be installed in Seattle, and Austin, Texas, are similar to ATMs but have scanners to read government-issued identification such as a driver's license or a passport to confirm users' identities.

The ATMs will allow people to swap bitcoin for cash, or deposit cash to buy more bitcoin by transferring funds to or from a virtual wallet on their smartphones.

Bitcoin was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers.
It isn't backed by a single company or government and has no assets behind it, but its release is tightly controlled, mimicking a central banking system's control over the minting of money.

Robocoin, based in Las Vegas, installed its first bitcoin ATM in Vancouver last fall and will also start operating one in Calgary, Alberta, later this month. Robocoin also is planning to install ATMs in Asia and Europe.

A bitcoin is currently worth about $636, but its value has fluctuated widely as the currency's visibility has increased. Last September, a bitcoin was worth around $150. By late December the value was near the $1,000 mark.

Users can buy products and services online on sites including Overstock.com (OSTK) or in a handful of stores.

The currency's reputation took a hit last week when two of its best known exchanges suspended withdrawals. One of them, Slovenia-based Bitstamp, said Friday it planned to allow redemptions to resume.


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11 Comments

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muvcritic

Isn't this tantamount to printing your own money? Is this even legal?

February 18 2014 at 10:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
emmett

Can you actually have a bit coin physically in your hand?

February 18 2014 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wla2000

Uh, huh. And of course there are enough bit coin owners to make this cost effective? Nah, it's for publicity.

February 18 2014 at 6:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
k4jlp

Oh my, I can just feel the itch of the players wondering how I can scam this one...Oh, that's right, we already have that, it's called THE COMMODITY MARKET.

February 18 2014 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CMEL57

This is the biggest scam going. People will believe anything. Keep your cash idiots.

February 18 2014 at 4:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
steblawar

Hmm, 2.7 million bitcoins hacked from Silk Road (black market site). Wouldn't it be a hoot if the whole thing turned out to be a big scam set up by hackers and some day at exactly twelve midnight Greenwich time, all the bit coin on the planet suddenly dissapeared ... poof!

February 18 2014 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bp17200etal

Remember e-gold? How about virtual art? Look it up. This is worth whatever someone is willing to pay, but unlike other commodities it has no value otherwise. Nadda. None. Zero. Zip. Last one out loses.

February 18 2014 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robertapaley

This is idiot stupid gene over and over again. I've been reading about Bitcoins for 6 months now, and all the gobble de gook (spelling?) about mining and World Currency and fluctuations and the Whole Nine Yards...and I'm sick of the articles because not one article explaines what happens...who gets the money...who controls the money...is money paid in each countries currency...how is money held or converted? Do these idiots think the World is stupid? And now ATM's...where does the cash go...where do they deposit the cash? Who backs the Bitcoins? Why not just do what we do...Check Cards, Amazon.com Visa Cards with real cash total rewards or other Visa or Master Cards...and Pay Pal seems so secure on eBay and Amazon.com and other places - where the products are backed up by Pay Pal, Amazon, and eBay? Why nutty talk of Bitcoins and not one person I know understands where the money goes? Part of the Dumbing Down of America (and the World) since the 1990's. I think our government is turning America into a 3rd World Nation.

February 18 2014 at 1:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
robnhd328

HI EXCUSE ME BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A BITCOIN OR ROBOCOINS ARE ,IS SOMETHING LIKE THIS GOING TO REPLACE THE US $ AS THE WORLDS CURRENCY?

February 18 2014 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tdorsett7

Great , More play money....

February 18 2014 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply