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Author Topic: Does Bitcoin really need an ATM?  (Read 2144 times)
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Strength in numbers

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July 23, 2012, 09:45:02 AM

Thanks for your replies. I find your comments very insightful, but I fear I have accidentally changed the original subject (the usefulness of building an ATM Bitcoin dispenser).

So, I agree with you that there are inconvenients (more or less frequent, depending on the person, I accept that) with traditional banking that Bitcoin aims to address (and I really hope it will). But I am still not sure of the answer to the following question:

- Will people use a Bitcoin ATM, other than tech-savvy people? (if placed properly?)

- What will be the reasons that will lead a 'common' person, not particularly tech-savvy (the so called "average Joe") to change some EUR into BTC, _today_? Maybe publish a list of sites accepting Bitcoin in the ATM? And what would be the different than paying with euros in another site?

- What would be the slogan for those people, and not empthy retoric as "Freedom for the people", or "Forget the banks" etc. Something like "Your money more secure", "Easier to use money", "More powerful money", "More stable money", but true (at this time).

- I think that the deployment of ATMs should be complemented by some physical merchants (affiliates) accepting it in the neighbourhood. In this way people will see the sign "Accepting Bitcoins", and when find the ATM for the first time, they will wonder what's all this about. But, how to convince merchants to use Bitcoin, if they need to pay taxes in euros? Their reaction would be the same as if I proposed to accept Swiss francs (and I think they would probably accept Swiss francs rather than Bitcoins).

I don't have any trouble getting dollars for my coins, but I would prefer local cash via atm if it gave me close to the market rate.

Like nearly every bitcoin innovation ATMs will proliferate when there is enough demand to make it profitable for someone and then it will increase the usefulness and thus the demand for bitcoins which will push some other imagined bitcoin projects into existence.

I don't expect many regular merchants in physical stores to be accepting bitcoin any time soon. The ones who do are in it for what you call empty rhetoric. Which also happens to be why I work for bitcoin, transact with bitcoin and save in bitcoin.

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To know where GOTO we gotta know where we COMEFROM

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July 23, 2012, 10:26:05 AM

Maybe the term ATM is a bit confusing. With ATM I refer to a machine where you can buy Bitcoins.

This is like saying "Airplanes. pffft, how many people actually need to cross the ocean?". Uh, a lot more once there is a reasonable way to do it.

I love this example! Or like saying "Hey, why would an Australian care about the information of a server in Europe?"
Mike Caldwell
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The Casascius 1oz 10BTC Silver Round (w/ Gold B)

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July 23, 2012, 04:16:51 PM

Who is going to protect it ? 24/7 ?
Who is going to fill it up ?
WHo is going to pay for all that ?

Most vending machines get attacked and vanadalised regularly ,and they only have
candy and drinks in them  

if there is going to be one that contains virtual and fiat money its going to be a target for theives ,this goes double if/when bitcoins are more valuable in the future

The machine above is a close cousin of this machine, which regularly does contain fiat money 24/7 and has been built with a commensurate level of security.  You might find it at your local carwash which is unattended 24/7.

Besides, it'd be more of a novelty.  Something to display at a tradeshow.  I don't really own any public-facing property where bolting it into a fixed location would make any sort of sense.

Also, such a thing probably wouldn't actually sell Casascius Coins.  Rather, it would make far more sense to sell redemption "tokens" that they must redeem for BTC online, where they would receive the exchange rate at the time of redemption, rather than at the time of purchase.  This way, the machine doesn't need connectivity to the Internet, nor would it need any major magic to deal with oddities in the denomination (e.g. not being able to sell less than 1 BTC, a problem when BTC>$20, or requiring exact change)

Essentially they would be buying a "Casascius Mickey Mouse Dollar" which could be used to buy bitcoins at a later time.  The secret key could be much shorter (since it's merely a website redemption code not a full private key) and no holograms would be needed (dropping the price greatly, and also dropping the production difficulty, since I could bulk-laser-etch codes on coins in mass quantities and produce thousands per hour, singlehandedly).

All of these caveats would be admittedly less cool than vending real Casascius Coins out of a machine, but it would eliminate most of the costly complication, keep the markup as razor thin as possible, and importantly, would represent a setup where anyone could repeat it simply by ordering a machine, stocking it full of easily-acquired tokens, and then running some open source redemption software on their web server to enable redemptions.

All that said, each coin could still have a QR private key in addition to the redemption code, which would be funded upon redemption (as the way of delivering BTC to the customer), so they still end up with a real physical "bitcoin" in the end.

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 wallets instead.
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There is more to Bitcoin than bitcoins.

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July 23, 2012, 10:44:33 PM

I like this thread. OP makes some valid points, the kind of criticism often lacking in this forum. I can speak for myself - right now I do use btc regularly, for international money transfers, because it works better than other options. I don't need an ATM to do that. I also use BTC as store of value, even though I realize it's risky at this early stage. Again, no need for ATM.

Even if some day in some places BTC becomes widely adopted, most likely it will be adopted as an additional, not exclusive payment option. Again, no need for ATM/exchange machines.

They're there, in their room.
Your mining rig is on fire, yet you're very calm.
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