First Bitcoin ATM to Go Live; South African Bitcoin Exchange Acquired (Oct. 28, 2013)
A coffee shop in Vancouver, British Columbia, will be home this week to what some are hailing as the world’s first Bitcoin ATM, which can exchange cash for the controversial digital currency. The machine, manufactured by Las Vegas-based Robocoin, is expected to be installed on Tuesday.
“It’s the first Bitcoin ATM in the world,” Mitchell Demeter, co-founder of Vancouver-based Bitcoin broker Bitcoiniacs, told The Vancouver Sun. “We have four more coming in December and we’ll be spreading them out across Canada in major cities,” he said, pointing to possible launches in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa.
ATM customers deposit cash in the machine, which is exchanged on the VirtEx Bitcoin exchange and then deposited into the customers’ bitcoin digital wallets. The machine also can dispense money for customers who want to exchange bitcoins for cash. Bitcoiniacs charges customers 3 percent for each transaction.
In related news, South African firm Switchless, a developer of Bitcoin software for banks, wealth managers and brokerage firms, has acquired BitX, one of Africa’s largest Bitcoin exchanges. Terms of the deal announced last week were not disclosed.
As interest in the volatile digital currency grows, so does the debate surrounding the regulation of it. In August, a U.S. judge ruled that Bitcoin is a form of money, while guidance issued in March by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said virtual currency administrators and exchanges are required to meet money transmitter regulations. In Europe, a group of Bitcoin companies in the U.K. have sought official recognition from several government financial authorities, and Germany declared that citizens are required to pay capital gains on Bitcoin income.