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Author Topic: Bitcoin ATMs -- who are the players?  (Read 7886 times)
cm68jd
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October 08, 2011, 11:25:47 PM
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Bitcoin ATMs are the killer app for bitcoin. Everything about ATMs make sense. You can spend the next 100 years convincing thousands of businesses to accept bitcoin or you can spend 1 week and put an ATM in a city and now every merchant indirectly accepts bitcoin. It indirectly opens up bitcoin to people who won't be accepting bitcoin in this decade no matter what (poor taxi drivers, poor street vendors, etc). It also will make using bitcoin realistic for immigrants in developed countries who send money back home.

Bang for the buck, nothing beats an ATM in driving adoption and making bitcoins useful. So, why aren't the big players (mtgox, tradehill, etc) or existing ATM franchise owners getting behind bitcoin ATMs? I know about Todd Bethell, but his Web site pretty much seems dead. It seems like a lot more interest would be around ATMs instead of yet another exchange site, another classified listing site, etc.

What am I missing about ATMs? Is there anything besides Todd investigating this?
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October 08, 2011, 11:32:45 PM
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Mt. Gox and Tradehill might be big fish in the Bitcoin world, but it's a small pond in here. Developing and deploying ATMs is pretty expensive, and I don't think Bitcoin has any backers large enough for this at the moment. If anything, they'd have to partner with CoinStar or a similar customizable kiosk device that deals in vouchers instead of cash at first.
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October 08, 2011, 11:33:40 PM
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ATM are expensive. 0.000000000000000000000000001% of population uses bitcoins.

ATM are regional.  Nobody drives 280 miles to go to any ATM.  They service a very small area (i.e. people within 5 miles).  Bitcoin adoption is so low that there aren't that many users in a 5 mile radius.  Are you going to spend $100K to build, setup, and service a machine for the 12 bitcoin users in the 5 mile radius?
danman87
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October 08, 2011, 11:44:19 PM
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What if the ATM was your computer and you could just print a Bitcoin Bill? The bill would include a barcode and a set denomination unique to you?
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October 08, 2011, 11:50:15 PM
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i don't get the point of an ATM tbh.
What would you suppose it to do?
Deal out fiat money I assume.
How would it work?
I send coins from my smartphone to the address in the display and retrieve fiat money?

As the others said, such a machine is expensive. This service can also be done by normal exchange bureaus. With the capability of cashing in the coins at the other end of the world, this could also be done where you now have western union or moneygram shops.

Before this is achieved big style with thousands of such shops accepting bitcoin, I doubt anybody would bother constructing a machine for it. Sure it would generate more hype around bitcoin but the investment would be too high for a first step.

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October 08, 2011, 11:56:33 PM
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Smart phones are pretty much a bitcoin ATM of sorts. Normal ATMs really only work when you need to get something that is physical in nature. Also no driving and finding one needed.

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October 09, 2011, 12:23:45 AM
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Smart phones are pretty much a bitcoin ATM of sorts. Normal ATMs really only work when you need to get something that is physical in nature. Also no driving and finding one needed.

I think the idea of bitcoin ATM is fiat cash -> bitcoin and bitcoin -> fiat cash.
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October 09, 2011, 01:13:03 AM
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I think credit card backed by bitcoins is smarter idea than ATMs at this moment. Then you can pay directly anywhere in local currency and you'll be charged with custom market price for BTC. Unfortunately talking with credit card companies is pretty hard, too (although it's more doable than ATMs).

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October 09, 2011, 01:20:01 AM
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I think credit card backed by bitcoins is smarter idea than ATMs at this moment. Then you can pay directly anywhere in local currency and you'll be charged with custom market price for BTC. Unfortunately talking with credit card companies is pretty hard, too (although it's more doable than ATMs).

+1 to this.  Getting a CC company to accept bitcoin sounds way more difficult than getting a merchant to though.  Although someone could trade prepaid credit cards for bitcoin and then the CC company wouldn't be that involved

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October 09, 2011, 01:48:04 AM
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Bitcoin ATMs are the killer app for bitcoin.

This is 100% wrong.  ATM's are going to go the way of the pay phone much sooner and much faster then most people realize.  Think smartphones, not ATM's.

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October 09, 2011, 01:50:30 AM
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I feel that everyone Android, Iphone, Ipad, notebook etc can be an ATM for bitcoin, it is not as restrictive as cash, we should be developing on that aspect rather than to emulate the existing systems.
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October 09, 2011, 03:51:33 AM
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I think credit card backed by bitcoins is smarter idea than ATMs at this moment. Then you can pay directly anywhere in local currency and you'll be charged with custom market price for BTC. Unfortunately talking with credit card companies is pretty hard, too (although it's more doable than ATMs).

I couldn't agree more. I haven't had a chance to post a thread on my new service yet (tomorrow) http://www.btcinstant.com  but this is exactly what it plans to do.  Smiley
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October 09, 2011, 03:52:41 AM
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I think credit card backed by bitcoins is smarter idea than ATMs at this moment. Then you can pay directly anywhere in local currency and you'll be charged with custom market price for BTC. Unfortunately talking with credit card companies is pretty hard, too (although it's more doable than ATMs).

+1 to this.  Getting a CC company to accept bitcoin sounds way more difficult than getting a merchant to though.  Although someone could trade prepaid credit cards for bitcoin and then the CC company wouldn't be that involved

Read reply above ^^ it's coming!
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October 09, 2011, 08:26:37 AM
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I find the ATMs a good idea. They allow you to buy bitcoins very easily and without troubles. Buying them now imply using an exchange, send money to another banks, set up accounts etc etc... i am pretty sure this discourage a lot of people.
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October 09, 2011, 08:55:17 AM
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I find the ATMs a good idea. They allow you to buy bitcoins very easily and without troubles. Buying them now imply using an exchange, send money to another banks, set up accounts etc etc... i am pretty sure this discourage a lot of people.

With two smart phones, easy enough to exchange cash for bitcoins/bitcoins for cash with someone. Eliminates the up-front cost of an ATM and the operational costs. Also eliminates the problem of thieves putting a skimming device on the ATM.

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cm68jd
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October 10, 2011, 07:33:38 PM
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ATM are expensive. 0.000000000000000000000000001% of population uses bitcoins.

That is actually not an issue. A bitcoin ATM is not specific to bitcoin. Instead, it functions as a normal ATM (which is quite profitable) and also allows the exchange of bitcoins to local currency for an added fee.

So, a bitcoin ATM is an ATM with the added profit of serving the needs of bitcoin users. Also, you might be surprised how many people in mexico would love to go to the bitcoin ATM instead of dealing with western union.
cm68jd
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October 10, 2011, 07:36:02 PM
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I think credit card backed by bitcoins is smarter idea than ATMs at this moment. Then you can pay directly anywhere in local currency and you'll be charged with custom market price for BTC. Unfortunately talking with credit card companies is pretty hard, too (although it's more doable than ATMs).

I agree, this would be a killer app similar to a bitcoin ATM. The great thing about this idea and bitcoin ATMs  is it does not require the buy-in of merchants.

No matter how you want to slice it, it is easier to install ATMs or do a CC backed by bitcoin than convincing the worlds 10 millions businesses to accept bitcoins and teaching them about crypto, QR codes, and other things they do not care about.
cm68jd
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October 10, 2011, 07:37:51 PM
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I find the ATMs a good idea. They allow you to buy bitcoins very easily and without troubles. Buying them now imply using an exchange, send money to another banks, set up accounts etc etc... i am pretty sure this discourage a lot of people.

With two smart phones, easy enough to exchange cash for bitcoins/bitcoins for cash with someone. Eliminates the up-front cost of an ATM and the operational costs. Also eliminates the problem of thieves putting a skimming device on the ATM.

Yeah, thats great. Except, Chili's, McDonalds, etc does not accept bitcoin. And, when an immigrant sends money back home that bitcoin does not help them buy groceries. What you need is an ATM that allows you to exchange bitcoin to fiat currency locally.

The day you can get Wal-Mart to accept bitcoin you have a point. But, until then, the fiat currency I pull out of the ATM using my bitcoin can be accepted by Wal-Mart.
ParrotyBit
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October 10, 2011, 07:45:28 PM
 #19

With two smart phones, easy enough to exchange cash for bitcoins/bitcoins for cash with someone. Eliminates the up-front cost of an ATM and the operational costs. Also eliminates the problem of thieves putting a skimming device on the ATM.

I don't want to be the person standing around in a McDonalds holding up my smartphone shouting "Bitcoins! Bitcoins! Get your Bitcoins!" for hours just so I can buy some fries.
cm68jd
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October 10, 2011, 07:45:44 PM
 #20

Mt. Gox and Tradehill might be big fish in the Bitcoin world, but it's a small pond in here. Developing and deploying ATMs is pretty expensive, and I don't think Bitcoin has any backers large enough for this at the moment. If anything, they'd have to partner with CoinStar or a similar customizable kiosk device that deals in vouchers instead of cash at first.

Yeah, I agree. The capital expenditure of 10,000 ATMs is large. However, mtgox or tradehill could develop a custom ATM with the help of one of the manufacturers that has a bitcoin module. This is similar to what Todd is doing I believe. The cost of this I assume would be $20-50k, which is a few days revenue for mtgox.

From there, they can franchise the ATMs, which is a pretty normal practice in the ATM world. So, instead of mtgox buying 10,000 ATMs at $5,000 a pop, 1,000 franchisers do. Hell, they can even sell it to existing ATM franchise owners. There really is not a downside for ATM owners as a bitcoin ATM will generate as much profit as a normal ATM + bitcoin profits.

MtGox can benefit because they can collect franchise and exchange fees (for when people deposit fiat money for bitcoins in the ATM). In addition, it would help their exchange business by giving them thousands of points to make exchange transactions.
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