Robocoin, a Las Vegas-based company which makes Bitcoin ATMs, announced its plans to open the first automated teller machine (ATM) in the US later this month in Seattle, Washington. The enterprise also announced that it plans to install a second ATM in Austin, Texas. The difference between regular machines and the ones created by Robocoin is that the latter machines are equipped with additional security features like optical and biometric scanners. Moreover, such new ATMs can scan government-issued IDs like driver’s licenses and passports.
The first US Bitcoin ATM is set to open in Seattle later this month and users will be able to swap virtual currency for cash and also deposit money or buy more of the cryptocurrency. Robocoin aimed at installing such ATMs in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but Taiwanese authorities blocked the distribution. Although the machine, which is due to arrive in Seattle, is still subjected to plenty of regulatory ambiguity, they are viewed as kiosks that distribute commodities in the form of Bitcoin.
Robocoin installed its first ATM in Vancouver last fall, but its plans of expansion go further than British Columbia and even reach other continents. Bitcoiniacs, a Canadian Bitcoin exchange company, stated that more ATMs are set to open in Singapore and London in the near future.
“[Singapore] became very attractive to us as soon as [the authorities] made it clear where they stood on bitcoin,” Mitchell Demeter, founder of Bitcoiniacs told CoinDesk.
According to Demeter, Singapore became a target the moment authorities introduced tax guidelines on Bitcoin. Moreover, this city’s reputation as a major regional financial hub transformed Singapore into a natural choice because of Public Relations needs.
London, on the other hand is currently experiencing a race between three start-ups that wish to install the first Bitcoin ATM in the city.
The first U.S. Bitcoin ATM is set to open in Seattle later this month, but in the meantime two of the best known exchanges suspended withdrawals. While Slovenia-based Bitstamp stated on Friday that it plans to allow retrieval to resume, Mt. Gox will resume transactions “as soon as possible.”
“With this new system in place, Mt. Gox should be able to resume withdrawals soon,” an official statement on the website stated on Monday.
However, Mt. Gox also announced that even with the new system at hand, the withdrawals will happen at a moderated pace and future plans include implementing “daily/monthly limits,” therefore the pace will be rather slow.
A Bitcoin is currently worth $275, but due to high volatility, the fluctuations went from last December’s $1,000 per unit to a fall by 20 percent on February 7. Last September, a Bitcoin’s value was as low as $150.
Robocoin’s first Bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver last fall, and after one month of transactions, the company stated that $942,000 were traded. The enterprise has already sold 50 ATMs to operators worldwide, but they are not operational yet, according to Robocoin chief executive Jordan Kelley.
The first U.S. Bitcoin ATM is set to open in Seattle, Washington later this month and another one in Austin, Texas will follow.
By Gabriela Motroc