As bitcoin has drawn interest, interest in providing easy ways to turn regular currency into crypto-currency has also grown. This in turn has led to bitcoin ATM’s popping up all over the U.S.
Some, like Las Vegas-based Robocoin’s machines, allow users to turn cash into bitcoins and vice-versa.
“I drove about 20 miles to come use the A.T.M.,” enthusiast Mitch Frink to The New York Times , about his recent trip to an Austin Texas bitcoin ATM. Frink took $160 out of the machine in its first week in operation. “I wanted to be able say, ‘Yeah, I sold Bitcoin for straight cash and could get it within 30 minutes.’ ”
Other machines, like those built by New Hampshire-based Lamassu do not dispense cash, and only allow customers to “withdraw” bitcoins. Lamassu does not want to make it easier to turn bitcoins into cash, instead it aims to help customers do everyday activities with bitcoins like buying soda from a machine.
Though the machines make it easier to view bitcoin as a currency, the process can be somewhat complicated and less straightforward than using a regular ATM. Often transactions involve long wait times for funds to come through and fees.
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