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Author Topic: Building a Bitcoin ATM. Should I bother? Demo Video!  (Read 6672 times)
JayCoin
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November 17, 2012, 03:31:34 AM
Last edit: November 18, 2012, 08:12:31 PM by JayCoin
 #1

I have been building a bitcoin automatic teller machine which consists of a computer, webcam/QRcode scanner, bill acceptor, touchscreen and receipt printer.  The idea of it is to allow anyone to purchase bitcoins with cash just by scanning their bitcoin address and depositing cash into the machine.  The machine then instantly sends bitcoins to the address at the current exchange rate plus some minus a fee of some sort.  Has anyone done this yet? Does anyone think that this is something people will use?

I will eventually post a video showing it in action once I fix a few more bugs in the user interface.  

EDIT: Here is a crude demo video of the prototype http://youtu.be/EdR_fHr_6Eg    

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November 17, 2012, 03:46:49 AM
 #2

How reproducible will it be?  It's cool if you're able to produce a one-off machine to show at tradeshows, but if you can produce something that others can build just by buying the same components, then your efforts will be that much more fruitful.

I had thought of a design that does much the same thing: it's what you've described minus the bill acceptor: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Casascius_Bitcoin_POS_system . It replaces the bill acceptor with a human operator, assuming the purpose of the device is to accept bitcoins in exchange for goods and services, and optionally to dispense them in exchange for cash.

It's vaporware, but it's also a significant enough idea that the European Central Bank thought to include a link to it in their recent virtual currency whitepaper.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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November 17, 2012, 03:48:45 AM
 #3

I have been building a bitcoin automatic teller machine which consists of a computer, webcam/QRcode scanner, bill acceptor, touchscreen and receipt printer.  The idea of it is to allow anyone to purchase bitcoins with cash just by scanning their bitcoin address and depositing cash into the machine.  The machine then instantly sends bitcoins to the address at the current exchange rate plus some minus a fee of some sort.  Has anyone done this yet? Does anyone think that this is something people will use?

I will eventually post a video showing it in action once I fix a few more bugs in the user interface.      

Where are you planning on locating your ATM that it will get enough traffic to justify the overheads of operating it?  How are you going to keep the machine secure from vandalism/theft?  How are you going to calculate your hot wallet needs so the machine isn't constantly going offline because your hot wallet has no more BTC - unlike a bank, you can't just go to another ATM. The idea has been proposed before and there are a number of obstacles which need to be considered in order to make it viable.


All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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November 17, 2012, 03:56:17 AM
 #4

I think a reasonably viable (not to mention exciting) proof of concept would be an acceptor module for a snack vending machine that scanned QR code private key, allowed a snack purchase, and then returned the change back to the original bitcoin address.  Only the payment acceptor would have to be modified in any way to use Bitcoin - the remainder of the entire machine would be a standard unmodified vending machine of the sort already commercially available.

This is exciting to me because it's practical, has a clear useful purpose, and is reasonably possible with off-the-shelf hardware.  The scope of the invention would be limited to just the payment acceptor.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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November 17, 2012, 04:06:26 AM
 #5

Here is another way to leverage the work of others:

Look at this prepaid phone card vending machine: http://www.onlinevending.com/catindex/items/C100-19-0.html

Simply load it with empty paper wallets with a Bitcoin address on them, pre-printed onto standard size plastic cards.

All it requires is that you have some way to know immediately when a card is sold (for example, a sensor that notifies your server of a sale via a cellular connection).  Your server automatically calculates the correct amount of BTC and sends it to the card at the time it is vended.  Assumption is you know in advance the sequence of the cards so you know which one just got sold.  Voila, bitcoin ATM with minimum engineering.

With even less engineering, you could activate the cards simply by pre-printing activation codes and then having the buyer use their cell phone to notify you they just bought the card by visiting a URL, scanning a QR code, or calling an activation number just like a prepaid phone card.  (they end up getting the exchange rate as of the time they activate it instead of the time they buy it, but it's sixes)

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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November 17, 2012, 04:52:28 AM
 #6



Where are you planning on locating your ATM that it will get enough traffic to justify the overheads of operating it?  How are you going to keep the machine secure from vandalism/theft?  How are you going to calculate your hot wallet needs so the machine isn't constantly going offline because your hot wallet has no more BTC - unlike a bank, you can't just go to another ATM. The idea has been proposed before and there are a number of obstacles which need to be considered in order to make it viable.


Where are you planning on locating your ATM that it will get enough traffic to justify the overheads of operating it?
I was hoping to find some people from the forum that own businesses that would be willing to place a machine in their business.  They would, in return, get a portion of the fees.

How are you going to keep the machine secure from vandalism/theft?
Same issue as any vending/atm machine.

How are you going to calculate your hot wallet needs so the machine isn't constantly going offline because your hot wallet has no more BTC - unlike a bank, you can't just go to another ATM.
The machine doesn't hold the wallet.  All the transactions take place on a remote server. (Machine will need internet connection). Remote server would monitor wallets and make sure enough bitcoins are available.

I have searched the forum for other discussion about this, but I can't seem to find any posts.





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November 17, 2012, 05:16:14 AM
 #7

Here's a couple examples of places where Bitcoin "ATMs" (or prepaid card dispensers) would work well for starters:

1. Internet cafes
2. Tradeshows with lots of tech people in attendance
3. I know it's not kosher to mention places where Silk Road customers would frequent, but got to admit that the machines would get used by that crowd wherever they can get to them.

Suppose I set up shop and wanted to get into this business... I wouldn't even have to bother with machines.  Merchants can buy their own machines or vend the cards directly from the register by hand.  I simply sell prepaid cards to merchants (internet cafes) that can be vended for $10 each... each card is essentially $9 (or some similar value) worth of "Casascius Dollars" (think MtGoxUSD) where the buyer can instantly convert them to BTC and withdraw them to the address of his choice via cell phone.  By selling "Casascius Dollars" the merchant doesn't have to think of them as anything other than dollar-denominated prepaid cards nor worry about exchange rates since the actual exchange into BTC goes into effect the moment the buyer cashes out the card.  The remaining $1 or whatever is the merchant's profit.

I doubt I'd have an interest in making such a thing but this would be a perfect thing for BitPay to do...



Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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November 17, 2012, 11:22:45 AM
 #8

Well to answer your original question: whether your efforts with this come to anything or not doesn't hinge on whether the idea has merit (it does), but on whether you have the resources and drive to make it happen. It's one of those things that are 1% inspiration and 99% blood sweat and tears I think.

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November 17, 2012, 11:39:03 AM
 #9

I have been building a bitcoin automatic teller machine which consists of a computer, webcam/QRcode scanner, bill acceptor, touchscreen and receipt printer.  The idea of it is to allow anyone to purchase bitcoins with cash just by scanning their bitcoin address and depositing cash into the machine.  The machine then instantly sends bitcoins to the address at the current exchange rate plus some minus a fee of some sort.  Has anyone done this yet? Does anyone think that this is something people will use?

I will eventually post a video showing it in action once I fix a few more bugs in the user interface.     
Consider seeing this device at an airport as you are about to leave the country, with a random amount of local currency in your pocket that you'd have to exchange for your local currency at some point.

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November 17, 2012, 01:27:18 PM
 #10

Maybe a much more convenient design would be to have some sort of vending machine with paper wallets in some kind of  xray, etc protective shielding. The paper wallets could have common amounts of bitcoins eg 10 btc, 1 btc 0.1btc and the user could simply purchase them the same as they would purchase a bag of chips. This eliminates the problem of a hot wallet, simplifies the process greatly on your end and  provides instant feedback on a purchase. It does however introduce the problem that you are storing hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins to start with and fiat to end with  in a vending machine.

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November 17, 2012, 04:32:51 PM
 #11

Maybe a much more convenient design would be to have some sort of vending machine with paper wallets in some kind of  xray, etc protective shielding. The paper wallets could have common amounts of bitcoins eg 10 btc, 1 btc 0.1btc and the user could simply purchase them the same as they would purchase a bag of chips. This eliminates the problem of a hot wallet, simplifies the process greatly on your end and  provides instant feedback on a purchase. It does however introduce the problem that you are storing hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins to start with and fiat to end with  in a vending machine.

This would work very well other than it adds the problem of the machine having to keep track of the exchange rate, as well as accept odd amounts (e.g. instead of inserting a $10 bill and getting 0.81 BTC, you would instead be inserting $12.27 to get 1 BTC, and would need a coin acceptor and change dispenser, adding significantly to the equipment and maintenance costs).  Not insurmountable by any means, it's just more cost and complexity... if I were building it, I'd find it easier to build a website that funds cards when a code is entered (even with the risk of a hotwallet), vs building some sort of realtime communication into the machine so it always knew what to charge.  On the other hand you can order the phone card dispenser TODAY and simply cover over the artwork with new artwork.  If I ran a service that supported thousands of these machines, I'd still only have to maintain one activation server and one hotwallet.

BitPay...this is the perfect product for you to sell.  Prepaid cards with "BitPayUSD" on them, where someone can go to a URL and have the current value in BTC sent to the address of their choice.  If cards were available for sale, I'd probably buy the vending machine just as a novelty and to take to places where bitcoin buyers might be interested in buying BTC.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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November 17, 2012, 04:53:15 PM
 #12

Maybe a much more convenient design would be to have some sort of vending machine with paper wallets in some kind of  xray, etc protective shielding. The paper wallets could have common amounts of bitcoins eg 10 btc, 1 btc 0.1btc and the user could simply purchase them the same as they would purchase a bag of chips. This eliminates the problem of a hot wallet, simplifies the process greatly on your end and  provides instant feedback on a purchase. It does however introduce the problem that you are storing hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins to start with and fiat to end with  in a vending machine.


This would work very well other than it adds the problem of the machine having to keep track of the exchange rate, as well as accept odd amounts (e.g. instead of inserting a $10 bill and getting 0.81 BTC, you would instead be inserting $12.27 to get 1 BTC, and would need a coin acceptor and change dispenser, adding significantly to the equipment and maintenance costs). 


I was thinking more along the lines of a fixed exchange rate that charges a premium above spot with set prices ie a 1btc card for $15 the machine is competing against local bitcoin traders who can sometimes charge way over spot for the anonymity and convenience. I see no reason why an even more convenient option couldn't charge an even greater premium. Im just trying to come up with an absolute minimum setup thing here.


[/quote]
BitPay...this is the perfect product for you to sell.  Prepaid cards with "BitPayUSD" on them, where someone can go to a URL and have the current value in BTC sent to the address of their choice.  If cards were available for sale, I'd probably buy the vending machine just as a novelty and to take to places where bitcoin buyers might be interested in buying BTC.

[/quote]



Quoted for truth.

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November 17, 2012, 05:52:46 PM
 #13

How about a business like CoinStar machines giving out BitCoins. They already have a business model charging dummies 9.8% for exchanging USD->USD. You'd only need a better way of giving machines your address than typing in 34 digits, a "print qr code for this address" in Bitcoin is a first step. Make a good usage model where interacting with the machines isn't hard (starting with a universal "pay to me" card that can give differing machines your bitcoin address) and they might consider it.

"An estimated 84 percent of coinstar users are women". Not going to comment on this one.

They recently sold off their money transfer business to Sigue, a company that profits from what Bitcoin does for free (http://www.sigue.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=122&Itemid=114), so they don't have a conflict of interest in now promoting an instant and free money transfer method.
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November 17, 2012, 06:42:06 PM
 #14

There is already this: http://blog.maschinenraum.tk/2012/07/15/bitcoin-vending-machine-exchange-euro-coins-for-bitcoin-wallets/

it gives you a paper wallet for cash.

Was done by this user: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=62162

Hasn't been online since then, but maybe his PM mail works?

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November 18, 2012, 07:54:58 AM
 #15

what premium will u charge

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November 18, 2012, 08:03:01 PM
 #16

I haven't figured the economics quite out yet.  I think I would charge very little in the beginning to develope a customer base.

Here is my prototype demo video http://youtu.be/EdR_fHr_6Eg

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November 19, 2012, 04:41:10 PM
 #17

I haven't figured the economics quite out yet.  I think I would charge very little in the beginning to develope a customer base.

Here is my prototype demo video http://youtu.be/EdR_fHr_6Eg


Fantastic video!  Much more exciting than any written description.

You could probably put it on Kickstarter and get funding.

Will be twice as impressive if you can ever demo two-way conversion between BTC & USD.

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November 19, 2012, 07:26:45 PM
 #18

I haven't figured the economics quite out yet.  I think I would charge very little in the beginning to develope a customer base.

Here is my prototype demo video http://youtu.be/EdR_fHr_6Eg


Fantastic video!  Much more exciting than any written description.

You could probably put it on Kickstarter and get funding.

Will be twice as impressive if you can ever demo two-way conversion between BTC & USD.


The only problem that arises is how the buyer will know he will actually get the coins and the money won't be sent elsewhere.

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November 19, 2012, 08:34:11 PM
 #19

I haven't figured the economics quite out yet.  I think I would charge very little in the beginning to develope a customer base.

Here is my prototype demo video http://youtu.be/EdR_fHr_6Eg


Fantastic video!  Much more exciting than any written description.

You could probably put it on Kickstarter and get funding.

Will be twice as impressive if you can ever demo two-way conversion between BTC & USD.



I maybe able to do small amounts the other way with zero confirmations (No one would want to stand infront of an ATM for 10 minutes waiting for transaction confirmations) , but the fees would probably need to be high to cover any double spend fraud.

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November 19, 2012, 08:39:34 PM
 #20

I like it!

Another idea is, for those who own or manage vending machines, stock them up with 0.1 BTC paper wallets and charge $2.00 each.  If the price of BTC changes to > $20, then break them down into 0.05 BTC paper wallets, etc.

I would so do this if I owned a vending machine.  Heck, I'm thinking of buying a vending machine just to do it.  Lots of them for sale (even active ones) on craigslist, etc.
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November 20, 2012, 05:52:36 AM
 #21

Here is another way to leverage the work of others:

Look at this prepaid phone card vending machine: http://www.onlinevending.com/catindex/items/C100-19-0.html

Simply load it with empty paper wallets with a Bitcoin address on them, pre-printed onto standard size plastic cards.

All it requires is that you have some way to know immediately when a card is sold (for example, a sensor that notifies your server of a sale via a cellular connection).  Your server automatically calculates the correct amount of BTC and sends it to the card at the time it is vended.  Assumption is you know in advance the sequence of the cards so you know which one just got sold.  Voila, bitcoin ATM with minimum engineering.

With even less engineering, you could activate the cards simply by pre-printing activation codes and then having the buyer use their cell phone to notify you they just bought the card by visiting a URL, scanning a QR code, or calling an activation number just like a prepaid phone card.  (they end up getting the exchange rate as of the time they activate it instead of the time they buy it, but it's sixes)

How about you vend bitcoin addresses as you say for a set $ amount ie a $20 card. User retrieves card and holds card's QR code up to vending machine's scanner. $20 worth of btc then sent to the address.


edit
Oh ya. Awesome job OP.

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November 22, 2012, 06:54:27 PM
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Wasn't someone working on a BTC ATM about a year or two ago (it was a USD version, not a EUR version)?  What ever became of that?

Someone ought to help OP out with a link to that project so OP doesn't have to reinvent any wheels.
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November 23, 2012, 07:47:02 AM
 #23

Really a nice idea. A fast and convenient way to exchange fiat for bitcoin is really missing.
 

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November 23, 2012, 10:55:37 PM
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I have parts for the enclosure on order and will post a video of the completed unit when completed.  I will be getting a web site together to start up a formal organization for this project. 

I have seen another bitcoin ATM from a year ago on You Tube.  I didn't quite understand if they where selling private keys with value on them or a similar system to what I am doing.  It really didn't show it function at all.

I am hoping to have a location in the Chicago area in early 2013. With locations in L.A. and New York to follow.
 

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November 23, 2012, 11:40:15 PM
 #25

Here is another way to leverage the work of others:

Look at this prepaid phone card vending machine: http://www.onlinevending.com/catindex/items/C100-19-0.html

Simply load it with empty paper wallets with a Bitcoin address on them, pre-printed onto standard size plastic cards.

All it requires is that you have some way to know immediately when a card is sold (for example, a sensor that notifies your server of a sale via a cellular connection).  Your server automatically calculates the correct amount of BTC and sends it to the card at the time it is vended.  Assumption is you know in advance the sequence of the cards so you know which one just got sold.  Voila, bitcoin ATM with minimum engineering.

With even less engineering, you could activate the cards simply by pre-printing activation codes and then having the buyer use their cell phone to notify you they just bought the card by visiting a URL, scanning a QR code, or calling an activation number just like a prepaid phone card.  (they end up getting the exchange rate as of the time they activate it instead of the time they buy it, but it's sixes)

How about you vend bitcoin addresses as you say for a set $ amount ie a $20 card. User retrieves card and holds card's QR code up to vending machine's scanner. $20 worth of btc then sent to the address.


edit
Oh ya. Awesome job OP.

That's essentially what I have suggested, other than that to do what you've suggested, that vending machine would have to be outfitted with a scanner, with an associated programming expense, maintenance expense, and recurring communication charges to keep that scanner in contact with home base.

There is value in simplicity, both in terms of cost to those who will use/own/operate/maintain the machines, as well as how long it would take to go from idea to fully functioning implementation.

Meanwhile, if the customer can just use his own cell phone, or go directly to the redemption URL printed on the card so he can enter his own destination bitcoin address, then the solution is that much simpler.  Someone can buy a phone card vending machine TODAY and start selling bitcoin cards TODAY without hiring programmers to implement that scanner... all that is needed is some cards to sell and a web platform for redeeming the cards.

Importantly, that web platform need only be created once by one company in the business of selling cards, and then thousands of internet cafes could start selling bitcoins from a vending machine TODAY.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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November 23, 2012, 11:59:06 PM
 #26

Here is my prototype demo video http://youtu.be/EdR_fHr_6Eg
Man, "Big-Up yourself!"  Cheesy That is excellent!!!

Look forward to seeing one of your systems in the wild! Good luck!

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November 28, 2012, 02:55:26 AM
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I have parts for the enclosure on order and will post a video of the completed unit when completed.  I will be getting a web site together to start up a formal organization for this project. 

I have seen another bitcoin ATM from a year ago on You Tube.  I didn't quite understand if they where selling private keys with value on them or a similar system to what I am doing.  It really didn't show it function at all.

I am hoping to have a location in the Chicago area in early 2013. With locations in L.A. and New York to follow.
 

Great project!

I am interested in doing exactly this in Australia. I was thinking about using the Mei AE2600 and raspberry pi with serial multi data bus as controller but the information is scarce and my knowledge is basic. I would really like to see some kind of wiki projects site!

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dmatthewstewart
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November 30, 2012, 04:00:13 AM
 #28

I would love to see one set up somewhere. I would be buying bitcoins like crazy. Right now I have to use BitInstant and drag my butt down to walmart and pay the stupid fees in that process. I bet a finished machine could be competitive against the fees associated with the cash transactions done through bitinstant

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December 01, 2012, 05:37:54 AM
Last edit: December 01, 2012, 05:56:05 AM by JayCoin
 #29

Registered BitVenders.com domain and put up a page that describes the plan for this bitcoin vending machine.

This should give anyone who wants to build a machine the information they need to do it.  I have some ways to go on the code before it's ready. Hopefully I will be ready by January.

Hello There!
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December 09, 2012, 05:16:10 AM
 #30

why doesn't this video have a bajillion views

were you throwing this project on kickstarter or anything?

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December 12, 2012, 09:05:44 AM
 #31

why doesn't this video have a bajillion views

were you throwing this project on kickstarter or anything?
Let the bitcoinaddress be scannable by qr as well.

Koop en verkoop snel en veilig bitcoins via iDeal op Bitonic.nl
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October 09, 2014, 03:50:39 AM
 #32

Any Updates on these projects?
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October 09, 2014, 12:02:07 PM
 #33

great idea
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October 12, 2014, 01:21:34 PM
 #34

Good idea. Maybe this will help:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Open-Bitcoin-ATM/
http://openbitcoinatm.wordpress.com/
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October 12, 2014, 01:27:34 PM
 #35

good work guys



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