Since Bitcoin has been revolutionizing money in profound ways many ideas have come to life. Many of these concepts are new technologies added to the culture of traditional finance we see all the time. From cryptocurrency debit cards, NFC touchless payments, and the ATMs crypto is slowly finding its way into mainstream society. Since legitimizing itself as a medium of exchange the virtual currency has had a presence within ‘new style’ teller machines all around the globe. The likes of new technology with a twist of an old way of doing things.
Also Read: Mike Tyson and the Bitcoin Drama
I live outside of Boston and have had the pleasure of living near 4 local bitcoin ATMs. Over the course of time I used the machines quite a bit at all of their locations. All of them at the time were Lamassu’s and worked great, I never had a problem with their use. The machines were simple and located in some of the coolest spots in Cambridge, like MIT where you can spend your bitcoins at the local CoOp. Recently I took my son to Boston to use, the local crypto-ATMs. The machines were replaced by CoinOutlet ATMs. The automated tellers were out of order at both MIT and Harvard, Kendall Square. My son and I were told the machines were down for two weeks. We were disappointed and we hope CoinOutlet gets their machines up and running because dead machines are bad for adoption. “Your neighborhood bitcoin ATM” needs to get its machines going in Boston.
ATMs are cool when they work and offer different outlooks on the emerging technology today. The first Bitcoin ATM was installed at a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The shop Waves Coffee House opened their Java abode to bitcoiners with a Robocoin ATM. Robocoin has ATM operations all around the world from Italy to Hong Kong. There is even a Robocoin machine in Vegas. The ATM on Las Vegas Blvd sees 100,000 in foot traffic every day. The automated teller was the first on the strip and people hope for more to come. In recent news Mike Tyson was planning on adding a machine on the Vegas strip.
Lamassu has been a trusted name in crypto-teller machines. Coin ATM Radar reports that there are roughly 120 of the company’s machines installed worldwide. Many reviews of this company can be found online with solid ratings. Descriptions like the product saying has arrived in “perfect condition”, and the machine operates “like a champ” are seen on the web reviews. Lamassu and Robocoin have been the leaders so far in the industry. According to Coin ATM Radar the globe houses roughly 400 Bitcoin ATMs now. Both of these companies have a majority of this number.
The ATM manufacturer Skyhook’s claim to fame was open source for under 1,000 dollars. Skyhook comes into the competition with 16% of machines worldwide. The company boasts 61 machines and they can be completely modified and the code is open source. It operates on a standard Raspberry Pi and quite a few good reviews can be found on these machines, they have been complimented for opening their code to the public.
Andreas Antonopoulos spoke to a small group at Harvard’s i-lab recently discussing products and services in the crypto industry. The writer and community speaker thinks the Bitcoin ATM needs to be redesigned. He said if he designed them, that the language of the machine wouldn’t have a lick of English on it, that they would primarily be in Spanish to really push remittances. The machines in his vision wouldn’t be automated and would have a live person with an internet connection throughout the whole process. Antonopoulos basically said that Bitcoin is a new tech not to be confused with the automated tellers we all use today.
According to Coin ATM radar the average fee for using a Bitcoin ATM is 6 percent. However, many disregard this fee feeling it’s a trade for higher anonymity. Two thirds of the ATMs globally are one way machines, and the rest being 2 way tellers which can buy and sell. A lot of people seem to like Bitcoin ATMs and while some of the machines could be redesigned, the concept doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Personally, I like seeing my bills being eaten, it’s a pretty cool feeling watching it happen in the physical form. Id like to see more automated tellers pop up everywhere so people can get a chance to try them and transact with Bitcoin. My buddy from Miami told me that if I was ever in town his machine BitStop would always be up and running. I do believe that Bitcoin ATMs do add value to the crypto ecosystem and I hope to see more in my area that are operational.
What do you think of Bitcoin ATMs? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixbay, Lamassu, and Redmemes