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Bitcoin ATMs – Arrival in USA, Canada and Asia

Bitcoin ATMEver heard of a digital currency being churned out by an ATM? Well, Bitcoins seems to be the first of its kind in this respect, as the first Bitcoins ATM to be used in USA will be launched in Austin, Texas by the third week of February 2014. The first of these devices was launched in Vancouver, Canada late last year and ever since then, hundreds of these ATMs have been deployed in Asia and many other locations around the world.

Well, it is not that physical coins or the physical equivalent of Bitcoins will be dispensed from these ATMs. Rather, what Bitcoin ATMs will do is to allow users to use physical cash to buy Bitcoins, and also to use a specially generated dashboard to access their Bitcoins accounts and exchange them for physical cash. This makes these Bitcoins ATMs bi-directional ATMs. Robocoin, the company behind the ATMs to be launched in Texas, has said that more of these ATMs will be launched around the world.

How to Use the Bitcoins ATM’s

Supposing you have some Bitcoins that you want to exchange for cash and you need it so badly you are not prepared to go to the online exchanges to do so, how can you use these ATMs to achieve your purpose? Or perhaps you foresee a spike in Bitcoins for the week and wanting to profit from the opportunity, you wish to buy Bitcoins quickly, wait for a price increase and then re-exchange this again on the Bitcoins ATM closest to you?

  1. Buying Bitcoins

    The user will need to carry out personal identification and authentication on the system prior to usage otherwise access to the system will be denied. A user account is created and the customer will be prompted to place the right palm on the machine console designed for the purpose of palm vein scanning.

    The user’s details are then run through a global terrorist database before being prompted to carry out the financial transaction. When these authentication procedures clear the user, then access to the Bitcoins account as well instructions on how to purchase Bitcoins with cash will be provided via prompts on the screen.

  2. Selling Bitcoins

    Virtually the same process is used. This time, the user is exchanging his Bitcoins on the ATM. This is almost like withdrawing from a US Dollar account in a foreign bank and collecting from the conventional ATMs in the local currency.

Security Issues

A great concern with the usage of ATMs has always been security: security of the transaction, and security of the ATM user. In the real world, stuff like card skimming, identity theft to outright muggings at ATM locations are security issues that have bedeviled the use of physical ATM cards. With the coming of Bitcoins ATMs and the recent news of high profile hackings at Bitcoins exchanges, not many people may take to using these ATMs. So how are the companies that are rolling out these Bitcoins ATMs handling the security issues that are sure to come up?

The CEO of Robocoins recently told CNBC that one of the features that will be deployed is palm vein scanning, a procedure reputed to be more secure and accurate than fingerprint scanning. This would be part of an extensive system of biometric authentication with database stored by a technical partner. Customers would have to conduct a one-time verification, as well as background checks to prevent criminals and terrorists who may want to launder illicit money from gaining access to the system.

It would also be possible for a Bitcoins account holder to use a unique QR code to gain access to his or her account in order to perform the ATM transaction. Furthermore, the on-board computer on the ATM will be locked in a safe and public access to the servers on which the ATM runs will be blocked.

Those who do not have a Bitcoins wallet can have a paper wallet with a private keycode and unique address, which is printed out by the ATM after every transaction. All transactions are logged, making the data recoverable in case the user misplaces this wallet. In addition, transactions can be verified on the Bitcoins blockchain.

And to Sum it All Up

Bitcoins are still regarded with a lot of guarded optimism. The recent issues that many of the Bitcoins exchanges are facing with hackers is not doing much to improve the perception of Bitcoins. So while the ATM manufacturers like Robocoins are very optimistic of their product, it remains to be seen if Bitcoins will gain more acceptability on the side of the regulators and those in charge of monetary policy. If these conditions are satisfied, then the usage of the Bitcoins ATMs will catch on rapidly.

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