World’s First Bitcoin ATMFebruary 18th, 2013
A photo was posted on Facebook Queen Quill Carla Gericke, President of the Free State Project that she took at the recent Students for Liberty Conference. In the photo, co-creators and fellow Free Staters, Zach Harvey, Josh Harvey, and Matt Whitlock posing beside their latest Bitcoin invention, the first-ever Bitcoin ATM. In the description boasts being the second person ever to use the machine.
There have been a number of other “World’s First Bitcoin ATMs” but this appears to be the first that’s ready for prime time. In 2011 Bitcoin News Network reported on Todd Bethell, from DigiVidMedia who had a prototype of a Bitcoin ATM that dispensed plastic Bitcoin ATM cards so the ATM functioned more or less like a conventional ATM. Although in the video he boasts about hundreds of machines in the next 6 months, they never materialized, and he appears to have never moved forward on the project, or even produced a working machine.
There’s also a video titled Bitcoin ATM Prototype from 2012 by Jason Serafin where he appears to have a working piece of software for an ATM program. But it’s running off a desktop computer hooked up to a cash reader and a receipt printer. It doesn’t appear that Jason every built the infrastructure to launch his prototype.
Whitlock and the Harvey brothers appear to be the first to have a working program, a completed machine, and a business model they’re ready to move on. That’s what it means to be first to market. I had a chance to interview Josh Harvey and find what where the Bitcoin ATM was going. Interestingly, it’s not really an ATM in conventional sense. You don’t have to have an account with the machine. All you need is a QR code from a mobile app, or a deposit card that the machine can scan to know where to send your Bitcoins. The machine keeps connected to the Bitcoin network by WiFi, and gets updated with the exchange rate. You deposit cash, it sends you your Bitcoin, the network confirms the transaction and you’re on your way. It’s really more of an Automated Currency Exchange than an automated bank teller.
They’re going to have the new Bitcoin ATM on display at the 2013 New Hampshire Liberty Forum at the end of the week, and we’ll be there showing the premier of the Silver Circle movie Thursday night at Chunky’s Cinema. But even if you can’t get to Liberty Forum, you can see the machine in action here: http://vimeo.com/59849067
Find out where you can see Silver Circle by checking our theater and special screening schedule on our event page.