Canada to Get World’s First Bitcoin ATM Next Week

The first bitcoin ATM that will trade the digital currency for cash and vice versa will go live in Canada on Tuesday.

Bitcoins are an emerging digital currency that isn’t controlled by any authority such as a central bank. Photo: Antana/ Flickr

Canada is all set to release the first bitcoin ATM in the world. The update came from Robocoin, manufacturer from Nevada, and Bitcoiniacs, a local broker and operator. The $18,500 ATM will be placed near downtown Vancouver coffee house Waves, will trade Canadian dollars for online Bitcoins.

Users can deposit Canadian cash in the machines and it’s then exchanged on Canada’s VirtEx for Bitcoins. The corresponding credit is in recorded in the user’s online Bitcoin wallet. Similarly, online Bitcoins can be used to purchase Canadian cash from the machines.

The bitcoin ATMs will be based on palm scan technology to identify the users and enforce the daily financial limit. Actually to comply with Canadian law, the machine will check your identity using palm prints, photographs, and ID verification, and will only allow for a maximum of CAD$3,000 (around $2,700) worth of transactions per user per day, reports the Verge.

The same technology will be used for preventing problems related to laws against money laundering. It has a depost limit of $3,000 Canadian dollars per day, which the user can put into the machine.

As the Wired reports, the coffee shop is owned by a 53-year-old schoolteacher named Judy Fujiki who, until this summer, had never heard of bitcoin, but later became an avid investor. Waves is home to a regular bitcoin meetup, where people will swap cash for bitcoins. And you can buy a latte at the bar using the digital currency too.

Mitchell Demeter, co-founder of Vancouver bitcoin trading company Bitcoiniacs and part-owner of Robocoin, has invested in five such machines to be placed across Canada.

He and two high school friends from Sechelt, British Columbia, set up shop in central Vancouver a few months ago, with the idea of building a series of bitcoin exchange shops across Canada. Then they heard about the Robocoins. “They’re basically our store, but automated,” he says.

The other four ATMs are set for release sometime in December. The other cities which are likely to get a taste of bitcoin ATMs are Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

“Basically, it just make it easier for people to buy and sell Bitcoins and hopefully will drive the adoption of Bitcoin, and make it more accessible for people,” Demeter told CBC News.

Robocoin ATMs could be set up across the world and a blog on the company’s website says it has received inquiries from more than 20 regions including Australia, Prague, Kenya, Ireland, the Philippines and Thailand.

It adds: “We are incredibly passionate about the product we’ve put together. Robocoin will be the easiest, quickest, most convenient way to both buy and sell bitcoin ever.

“Say goodbye to pesky bank wires, archaic verification processes, and weeks of waiting time to get money converted. Using only the best bank grade hardware, Robocoin is capable of instantly handling transactions in the thousands of dollars.

“Not only does this provide incredible convenience for Bitcoin owners, but this also has the potential to change the entire remittance industry.”

Bitcoin is the world’s most popular digital currency, and it exists only on the internet, but it can be traded for traditional dollars and euros. Though bitcoin began as niche technology embraced mostly by internet geeks, it is gradually spreading not only to everyday people, but into the everyday world.

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