Bitcoin ATM launched

2 Jul 2013
Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin ATM lets you buy the digital currency using cash

A bitcoin ATM was revealed at a London conference today, allowing users to convert bank notes into the digital currency.

The machine, from start-up Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures, lets users buy bitcoins, but doesn't allow the reverse transfer, from the digital currency to hard cash.

To use the ATM, you need to have an existing Bitcoin wallet number. First, it scans a QR code of your Bitcoin address. Then, the user has to feed bank notes into the machine, which are converted at the current exchange rate and deposited into their account. While the deposit takes moments, it can take several minutes for an account to be updated.

Bitcoin can be purchased via online exchange sites, but the ATM means you don't need to use a credit or bank card, helping to keep the transactions anonymous, the company said.

"As banks in countries such as Canada and Israel make purchasing bitcoins from online exchanges more difficult, the Bitcoin Machine could serve as a worthy alternative," the company said. "Online exchanges are bound to the world's banking system as they require customers to hold bank accounts for buying and selling bitcoin. By accepting cash in all currencies, Lamassu's Bitcoin Machine is able to bypass any banking system."

The machine was first shown off in May in the US with American dollars, but has now been setup to be used in Europe. The company hopes to ship the devices globally in the autumn, and they will cost between $4,000 and $5,000.

Bitcoin is currently priced at about $90, after hitting highs above $260 earlier this year.

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