Want to jump into the risky world of cryptocurrency speculation, but can’t tell a blockhash from Memcache? A group of New Hampshire entrepreneurs has unveiled a new ATM that could be just the thing for you.
It also means that when you’re out to dinner at Thelonious Monkfish or Veggie Galaxy, which both accept Bitcoin for payments, you might soon be able to pick up the tab and show off your geek cred a little more easily.
The ATMs will accept cash — it can be configured to work with American dollars and hundreds of other currencies — and add Bitcoins into the depositors’ Bitcoin exchange, such as Mt.Gox and Bitstamp.
“The Bitcoin network is absolutely transparent, so there is no leap of faith at all,” Zach Harvey, a partner at Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures, told me in an email. “Within moments of depositing the cash into your Bitcoin phone application will receive a notification that the machine’s Bitcoin wallet has been debited and yours credited. The display will also present a QR code of the the transaction in the Bitcoin blockchain, which is the network’s public ledger.”
He said that while regulators have been vague about giving Bitcoin the full thumb’s up, he did not consider the machines to be operating in a “legal grey area,” but he did advise consulting a lawyer before operating.
“We expect the retail price of these to be in the $5,000 range, but other than pre-orders we don’t intend on fulfilling retail sales, only wholesale orders,” Harvey told me.
No word on when or where ones will be popping up in the Cambridge or Boston areas, but given the interest in the cryptocurrency, I wouldn’t be surprised to find one in the finer digital libertarian watering holes at some point.
The machines were unveiled at the Bitcoin 2013 conference in San Francisco.