First bitcoin ATM set up in Canada
THREE entrepreneurs opened an automated teller machine in a western Canadian city on Tuesday, calling it the world's first ATM that is able to exchange bitcoins for any official currency.
The machine, delivered to Vancouver by American manufacturer Robocoin, stands against a wall in a popular coffee shop and resembles an ordinary ATM.
However, instead of money transactions, it swops Canadian dollars for bitcoins - the virtual currency of the Internet invented in 2008 by an anonymous computer scientist known only by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
Customers lined up on Tuesday to use the ATM, before using their smartphones to buy coffee and muffins at the coffee shop.
The ATM is a world first, said co-owner Mitchel Demeter, a Canadian entrepreneur who started trading in bitcoins several years ago. Earlier this year, he set up Bitcoiniacs, a Vancouver storefront money exchange, with two partners.
"It's the currency of the Internet, as real as any other," he said.
The volatile currency is as yet unregulated by any government in the world, and it has had a share of notoriety by being used in the drug trade.