Starts & Stops

MBTA: No plans to accept Bitcoin for T passes

A Bitcoin ATM premiered Wednesday at South Station, but a T official said the agency has no plans to begin accepting the virtual currency.
A Bitcoin ATM premiered Wednesday at South Station, but a T official said the agency has no plans to begin accepting the virtual currency.Credit: (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)

A day may come when Boston-area commuters are freed from the yoke of the Federal Reserve — when the virtual currency known as Bitcoin will reign supreme.

But today is not that day.

Techies rejoiced Wednesday when a Bitcoin ATM debuted at South Station. The machine, among the first of its kind in the country, lends an air of legitimacy to the up-and-coming monetary system that exists entirely in the digital world, independent from any country’s currency.

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But MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the T has no plans to begin accepting bitcoins for subway, bus, or commuter rail passes.

“The MBTA’s fare vending machines accept widely-used U.S. currency, debit and credit cards,” Pesaturo said.

Alas. But the prospect of using virtual money to pay for transit may not be so far-fetched: The bus system in Canberra, Australia, has plans to allow riders to buy prepaid passes with bitcoins.

And in Allentown, Penn., bitcoins are now accepted at a franchise of the Subway sandwich shop. Admittedly, not exactly the same thing as a subway pass. But it’s a start.

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