Los Angeles has introduced bitcoin ATM machines at two local convenience stores.
The digital currency, which is already changing the landscape of online commerce, is steadily gaining popularity, and can now be used to pay for things like political campaign contributions and even firearms.
The ATM machines, manufactured by Las Vegas-based RoboCoin, are located in Hollywood and Venice, inside Locali Conscious convenience stores. According to the Los Angeles Register, users have to scan their palms and provide a phone number in order to verify the transaction.
Santa Monica-based startup expresscoin is managing and supplying the bitcoins for the ATMs. Expresscoin co-founder Joe Hsieh hopes the new machines will increase mainstream acceptance of the digital currency.
“It’s hard to grasp what bitcoins are,” Hsieh told the Register. “We think ATMs will help promote bitcoins in a different way.”
According to bitcoin.org, bitcoin is “a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is empowered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet.” The value of one bitcoin is currently around $575.
The Register notes that transactions for the two ATM machines already total in the hundreds of dollars per day. Expresscoin already operates a bitcoin ATM in Las Vegas, at the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel, but Hsieh said the company ultimately hopes to work with bitcoin ATM operators around the world.