After we talked about Bitcoin ATM machines here and here, there’s a new star in town: Robocoin, Bitcoin’s first kiosk. This new machine is like a normal ATM, but for Bitcoins. For three days, during the Bitcoin conference that recently happened in San Jose, California, this device exchanged thousands of dollars for the world’s most popular digital currency.
The Robocoin was built by two brothers, Mark and John Russell, from Las Vegas. But they are still trying to figure out what to do with their new machine, since operating it on their own is not an option for now.
Their idea of a Bitcoin ATM was born in January, when John Russel came up with the project, as a way of applying what Mark Russell was already working on. They dropped by a Nevada slot machine maker and, soon, John, a computer science student at the University of Nevada, was imagining and building prototypes.
Mark Russell sees his machine as something close to a vending machine: it trades a series of numbers for cash, but the authorities are not happy with machines like these. “We wanted to be a business that sold digital code for money, but now they’re classifying Bitcoin as a currency or a commodity. So we’re in a bind”, he says.
This means that the people who are already operating similar ATMs will need to change the way their machines work or wait until Bitcoin has some rules that can make it legal.