The esoteric crypto-currency continues to gain popularity and technologies to make it even more user friendly are popping up all over the place. The latest is the Bitcoin ATM, which could be a serious game changer for adoption. From CNET:
NASHUA, N.H. — Zach Harvey has an ambitious plan to accelerate adoption of the Internet’s favorite alternative currency: installing in thousands of bars, restaurants, and grocery stores ATMs that will let you buy Bitcoins anonymously.
It’s the opposite of a traditional automated teller that dispenses currency. Instead, these Bitcoin ATMs will accept dollar bills — using the same validation mechanism as vending machines — and instantly convert the amount to Bitcoins and deposit the result in your account.
Harvey and Matt Whitlock are partners in a New Hampshire-based venture, Lamassu Bitcoin Advisors, that’s hoping to commercialize the ATM by selling to retail businesses, especially ones that also want to accept the decentralized alternative currency from customers.
Unlike modern currency, which can be brought into existence at the whim of politicians or a central bank, leading to each note being devalued, the number of Bitcoins is governed by predictable mathematical algorithms. That’s made Bitcoin popular among libertarians and other activists skeptical of the Federal Reserve; the Free State Project accepts payment for its summer festival in Bitcoins, for instance. (The U.S. dollar has lost 96 percent of its value over the last century because of cumulative year-over-year inflation, according to federal government data.)
To obtain Bitcoins, people use an iPhone app like Blockchain or Android‘s BitcoinSpinner to show the ATM a QR code with their desired address for payments. After they insert a dollar bill (denominations up to $100 are accepted), the ATM automatically credits their Bitcoin account with the proceeds. There’s a 1 percent transaction fee.