Entrepreneurs from New Hampshire have developed an ATM prototype that takes cash and converts them it into Bitcoins, the online currency used by websites. Lamassu‘s Bitcoin ATM can be programmed to accept any world currency and changes the cash to Bitcoin. Previously, people can only obtain the online currency by buying from certain websites.
For the transaction to work, Lamassu’s device prompts the user to scan a QR code from a phone so that the machine knows where to send the Bitcoin. Then the user inserts money like he or she would in a vending machine. The cash then gets converted to Bitcoins and credited to the user’s account. The ATM can only convert cash to Bitcoins and not the other way around.
Each ‘exchange’ or transaction has a fee, but Lamassu founders Zach Harvey and Josh Harvey plan to sell the machine to vendors and distributors instead of basing their income on the ATM transaction fees. The company are presenting their machine at the Bitcoin 2013 Conference in San Jose, California this week.
Lamassu isn’t the only company that developed a Bitcoin ATM. Another group, Bitcoin ATM, sells converted ATM machines.
The clip below shows a demo of the Bitcoin ATM at the Nashua Liberty Forum.