Seattleites will soon have easy access to a Bitcoin exchange ATM, but the exact location of the machine is still a mystery.
Las Vegas-based Robocoin, which built and installed the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, B.C., this past October, announced today that it is opening ATMs in the U.S. starting with Austin, Texas and then Seattle later this month — the first of its kind in the States.
A company spokesman wouldn’t reveal the exact location of Seattle’s Bitcoin ATM and only said that the $19,000 ATM was “in transit,” and on its way to the Emerald City.
So that leaves us with a little crytocurrency mystery. Will Robocoin place the machine, which scans your passport or driver’s license and allows you to exchange cash for Bitcoin — or do the reverse — in a populated area with lots of techies like South Lake Union? Or perhaps Pioneer Square, where several startups call home?
Bellevue and Redmond are good guesses, too, with thousands of software engineers from Microsoft and other tech companies working there every day. Let us know if you spot the new ATM in Seattle. We’d like to try it out.
Ultimately, it’s up to the ATM’s operator to decide where the machine lives. Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs is responsible for the ATM up north, but Robocoin isn’t saying who will own the Seattle one.
Bitcoiniacs installed its ATM at the Waves Coffee House in downtown Vancouver and the machine exceeded $1,000,000 CAD in volume from 1,576 transactions within the first month. Though they’ve had to hire an “ATM chaperone,” to assist people who have trouble with their exchanges.
The Vancouver ATM charges a five percent commission and only allows each person to exchange up to $3,000 per day. The Robocoin spokesperson said that limit could be higher or lower in Seattle depending on what the operator wants to do.
Bitcoin, if you are unfamiliar, is the decentralized, digital currency that gained popularity late last year in light of the FBI shutting down Silk Road. Bitcoin’s value skyrocketed past $1,000 in November, but has been dropping lately amid security concerns. Currently one Bitcoin is worth around $600.
Robocoin plans to install another ATM in Calgary, Alberta, and eventually to Asia and Europe. Here’s how the Vancouver ATM operates: