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Bitcoin The Almighty Buck Linux

World's First Bitcoin ATM 437

Posted by Soulskill
from the baby-steps-to-legitimacy dept.
bill_mcgonigle writes "I just bought bitcoins from the World's first Bitcoin ATM at Liberty Forum. I created an account using an Android Bitcoin client and held up its QR code to the Raspberry Pi-based device's optical scanner. After I fed in a $20 Federal Reserve Note, I got back a confirmation QR code on its display, which I then scanned and checked the third-party confirmation URL. The machine can function on any wireless network and will soon be available for purchase by merchants, who can make a commission on customers' Bitcoin purchases."
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World's First Bitcoin ATM

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:13PM (#42998985)

    Congratulations.

  • by Great Big Bird (1751616) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:16PM (#42999003)
    to drop... I am waiting for some kind of bad security hole. How many bitcoin sites have been laughably insecure?
    • by brokenin2 (103006) *

      This one would be on you.. You control the security of the key that the money is sent to. Now if they don't send you the money, there's an issue you'll need to work out with them, but your risk is limited to: from the time you put the money in the machine, to the time you receive it.. Depending on how sure you want to be, that's anywhere from about 10 seconds to an hour.

  • by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:17PM (#42999017)

    It will be a far more useful offering when I can both give it currency to be credited bitcoins, and transfer bitcoins to it to receive currency.

    • by phizi0n (1237812)

      Why would you want to give it anything when you could walk away with the machine and steal all their bitcoins instead?

      • First, outright theft isn't compatible with my personal moral code.

        Second, the bitcoins themselves are almost certainly stored in a wallet elsewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:17PM (#42999019)

    I thought gambling was illegal most other places.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by brokenin2 (103006) *

      It's funny all the people calling anyone getting into Bitcoin suckers. It'd be fun to see if one of them would dare to mark the price of Bitcoin for each time they've made a comment link that. I'm one of those "Bitcoin suckers".... At this point, I've got about 30 grand to show for my original $19.50 investment.. Boy, you've really made me feel like a sucker now haven't you. There was a one month period (shorter actually) where you could have bought them and held them until now and lost some USD on them

      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:17PM (#42999719)

        This is a zero sum game. In order for you to win money, other people have to lose money. And because there's nothing being produced, you're guaranteed that the early adopters will wind up profiting even as the late comers end up footing the entire bill.

        And hell yes you're a fool. Even fools get lucky, but in total, the people getting lucky will be vastly outnumbered by the people who get screwed because of the way in which the BTC are created. And the early fools will reap more rewards individually than the later fools will pay out individually.

        Also, if you've bothered to read up at all, and I mean at all, on the Ponzi scheme, this is exactly what it looks like. The early adopters crow about how it's money for nothing, when they're being paid by the people getting in later. At some point the money runs low and it falls apart. We haven't yet hit the point where it falls apart, but when the deflationary spiral hits the system, those BTC that people have will be effectively worthless as there's no upside to buying them, assuming you even can buy them. And general instability as small purchases cause huge changes in value because of low trading volume.

        It's also likely to be illegal as I doubt very much that the SEC is being permitted to oversee all of this, nor the equivalents in other nations.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by brokenin2 (103006) *

          It's true it's a zero sum game. The same goes for currencies died of an inflationary spiral. A zero sum game is actually what money is for. Making sure you're on the winners side is nice if you're going to play with money. So far it's working for me.

          I was certainly lucky, but you explain to me why my luck is going to change? Your premiss only works if one day everyone dumps them all. I'll certainly keep an eye on it, but tell me why everyone's going to dump them tomorrow, or some other day, when the syste

        • by sFurbo (1361249) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:38AM (#43001195)
          It seems bitcoins would be the easiest (and cheapest) way to transfer money to and from places without much financial infrastructure. That makes it a non-zero sum game. This also means that it might not (completely) collapse, as there is real utility in it.
      • by HeadOffice (912211) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:06AM (#43000779)

        Time will tell...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory [wikipedia.org]

  • uber-geek issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:27PM (#42999083)
    "I just bought bitcoins from the World's first Bitcoin ATM at Liberty Forum. I created an account using an Android Bitcoin client and held up its QR code to the Raspberry Pi-based device's optical scanner. After I fed in a $20 Federal Reserve Note, I got back a confirmation QR code on its display, which I then scanned and checked the third-party confirmation URL. The machine can function on any wireless network and will soon be available for purchase by merchants, who can make a commission on customers' Bitcoin purchases."

    Most of those words mean nothing to the vast majority of the worlds population.
    • by swilde23 (874551)

      and this is slashdot... not the vast majority of the world...

      • and this is slashdot... not the vast majority of the world...

        I get that. And this is one of the most geeked out sites going. But holy crap. An article about "buying" bitcoins, via some arcane series of steps?
        Why would yo do that?
  • I'll say this right now and you can quote me. Bitcoin is going to CHANGE THE WORLD!

    An ATM in shopping centres which allows people to exchange actual paper money for digital currency? What vendor wouldn't jump at an opportunity to operate such a machine? And once the machines are in every bar and shopping centre, the vendors will naturally all fall into line and allow people to spend bitcoins. This is a WHOLE new way of exchanging money.

    What's next? The Silk Road machine? .. Genius.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Android, Raspberry Pi, and Bitcoin in a single summary? Just needs an Apple or 3D printing angle and it'll be slashdot buzzword bingo.

  • Isn't this more of a "deposit box" machine seeing as an ATM (automated teller machine) allows withdrawal of money, checking account balances, transferring funds from one account to another etc? (And technically shouldn't the machines that only dispense be MAC (money access center) machines?

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      ATM is correct in this context, as it also stands for "Automatically Takes Money".
  • by stoploss (2842505) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:49PM (#42999229)

    It is actually quite hard to obtain bitcoins anonymously.

    The days of CPU-based mining are long over, and even the current "economy" of multi-GPU-based mining rigs is about to be eclipsed by the ASIC-based devices coming online this year.

    There are effectively no services that will take anonymous payment for bitcoins. Paying via bank account ACH or check is certainly not anonymous, and the same goes for credit/debit card payment. Furthermore, any credit/debit based payment is potentially reversible via chargebacks, etc, so most places don't take that kind of payment due to the fact that bitcoin transfers are irreversible.

    Services like Bitinstant claim to take cash for bitcoins, but what that really means is that they require payment via MoneyGram, which requires you to present government-issued ID when sending payment. This is linked to the Bitinstant anti-money laundering policy [bitinstant.com], which requires your real name, etc. Dwolla wants a name, SSN, government ID, etc, to setup an account. As for Mt. Gox? Heh, they require everything but a DNA sample in order to use the exchange. Any service registered as a "money services business" in FinCEN will have these kinds of restrictions.

    Obtaining bitcoins locally requires finding someone offering them for sale, negotiating price each time, and likely a face-to-face meeting to hand over cash. If one is really patient and trusting, a deal might be able to be struck for sending cash in an envelope. However, the bitcoin market is extremely volatile, which tends to undermine these types of deals.

    Anyway, this ATM seems very convenient and anonymous; ergo, it likely will fall afoul of the anti-money laundering laws in one way or another.

    • Seems like payday loan and those "cash quick" places would be logical businesses to start offering bitcoin sales, assuming they could get enough inventory. Since not all users of the currency will care about anonymity, simply buying them for speculation or online use would be worth a 5-10% transaction fee. There's been a lot of press lately in magazines like Forbes which will catch the attention of Joe Public (and further fueling the BTC-USD bubble).

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Or there's another way: accept it as payment for a good or service. As (or "if", I suppose) Bitcoin grows and becomes a more legitimate currency, I expect that that will become a more common, or even primary way of obtaining them. (It wouldn't always be anonymously, but it would be possible to do it that way).

      I mean, how do most people get Euros, or Dollars - by converting some other currency, or by working for them?

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:10PM (#42999353)

    It seems like there is a lot that can make this fail.

    Can it refund your cash if there is any fault?

    Can it run out of bit coins to pay out? and you end up losing cash?

    How fast can it update the exchange rate?

    What happens with a network lost midway though an transfer?

    Can it store and transfer at a later time?

    What about an power loss?

    Hacking? and will be even be crime to hack it? and what will happen in a court if some one sues or they try to change some with breaking a law dealing with any to do with this?

  • Brilliant! An ATM that I put cash *into* to get magic numbers out --- for all those times when I've been standing in a market thinking "gee, it would be handy to have a bit less spending cash in my wallet right now."

  • by mathimus1863 (1120437) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:31PM (#42999499)
    Yes, there's a lot of people who are in Bitcoin because of become-a-billionaire-overnight fantasies. But you remove all that and you're left with a really fascinating system that should appeal to everyone on Slashdot. It's a mix of cryptography, freedom of speech, computing, networking, finance, economics, and even politics -- most of us here dig that stuff.

    Get over the hype and take Bitcoin for what it really is: a fascinating experiment that has, so far, withstood the amazing barrage of publicity, hacking attempts, legal uncertainties, and remains valuable for reasons completely contrary to everyone that says it's worthless. It may become worthless one day, but consider the possibility that Bitcoin is disproving all your wildly oversimplified assumptions about what makes something valuable. It is completely different, and there's plenty of reasons to believe that it could succeed as much as it could fail.

    Why does gold have value? Nothing is backing gold. Yet it has value, mainly because of its properties: scarcity, fungibility, density, beauty, etc. Bitcoin is really quite similar but with some different properties. Ease of transfer over the internet, fungibility, scarcity, storage efficiency, near-anonymity and built-in escrow.

    I don't think it's any more ludicrous for Bitcoin to have value than it is for gold to have value. And in the end, when I want to sell WoW weapons, buy webserver space, or play a few games of poker online, why would I use gold, credit card or paypal, which all require me to remember log-in creditials, give away information and/or pay a bunch of third party fees. There's plenty of value in being able to pay people across the world, instantaneously, without sacrificing your privacy, and without paying any fees. Why is that not valuable? Seriously... quit focusing on the get-rich-quick kids, and start appreciating Bitcoin for it's unique properties and philosophy.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:11PM (#42999697)

      It will never work as a currency because it has built in deflation, which if you've taken ECON 200 you'll know is a really, really bad thing for an economy.

      Nor is it being used as a currency right now. A currency is something people hold, spend, get paid in, etc. Bitcoin is basically used only for three things:

      1) Money laundering. Sites that do illegal things, like the Silk Road, use Bitcoin to launder money. They take payment in it but immediately convert that in to an actual currency. They are just using the payment system to launder the money from the client to them.

      2) Speculation. Traders play the Bitcoin market to try and make a quick buck. Hence one of the reasons for the extreme volatility in price. If any actual currency had that kind of daily volatility it would be said to be in crisis, yet somehow the BTCtards want to act like it is perfectly ok for Bitcoins to fluctuate like that. It also, of course, makes it even less suitable as a currency for people to hang on to.

      3) "Mining." People literally wasting CPU cycles and electricity to generate new Bitcoins. Most because they are bad at math and don't count the total cost of all their stuff and realize that they aren't actually making any money on it.

      The inherent deflationary property of it makes it a failure as a currency out of the gate. There may be many other problems it would face on a large scale of usage, nobody has yet to convince me it has a good solution to timing attacks, but it doesn't matter because it fails as a currency.

      The people who think deflation is good are people with no understanding of economics past their wallet. They think "Deflation means the money in my wallet is worth more so it is a good thing!" That is not the case, you have to look at the larger economic consequences, and then you discover deflation is very, very bad.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:21PM (#42999727)
        Deflation is a silly thing to be worried about.

        How many hyper-deflations have occurred? 0.
        How many hyper-inflationary events have occurred? A lot. (Zimbabwe, Germany, Hungary, Former Soviet Republics, etc.)

        The idea of this gigantic "deflationary spiral" is also a myth

        http://mises.org/daily/1254 [mises.org]

        Does a good job of explaining it.
      • It will never work as a currency because it has built in deflation, which if you've taken ECON 200 you'll know is a really, really bad thing for an economy.

        The funny thing about economics is that it's not scientific.

        Sure, it uses math and all, in the manner that astrology uses math, but it's nothing more than feel-good storytelling.

        In the case of inflation/deflation, there is no analytic theory which describes the situation - nothing based on conclusions from testable assumptions. It's all guesswork from historical evidence.

        Don't believe me? Can you tell me the best value for inflation? If the answer is "it depends", then what does it depend on? Is the functio

      • by moeinvt (851793)

        1) There's a reason the bitcoin folks were invited to the LIBERTY forum. The concept of legal/illegal is a government fiction which has lost all correlation with the concepts of right or wrong / moral or immoral. Consider this a form of political protest against the criminal (but legal) actions of the banking cartel and the insanity of the "war on drugs".

        2) What's wrong with speculation? As long as there are competing currencies, there will be speculation. This is also a relatively new phenomenon so th

    • Gold has value because it has unique properties. As does silver, aluminum, etc. Indeed every physical object has unique properties which give them value. Aluminum is good for making soda cans out of (along with a lot of other things), you can't substitute lead for aluminum and get the same product. Because these things are physical, they also have scarcity. Oxygen is incredibly useful, but its also virtually limitless making its value (in normal situations) quite low. Gold, while arguably less useful than o
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:45PM (#42999881) Homepage

    This is not an ATM. It's a vending machine. It's like one of those machines that adds value to a transit card, or a gift card vending machine. If you could show it a QR code representing a Bitcoin on your cell phone screen, and it then dispensed currency, it would be an ATM. If people could do transactions in both directions, it would be taken more seriously. That would demonstrate that Bitcoins are worth something. As a one-way device, it's just another money-sucker.

    It isn't even a deployable vending machine. It's a wooden prototype of one. Anything that takes $20 to $100 bills needs to be built up to money safe level.

  • by dinther (738910) on Monday February 25, 2013 @01:04AM (#43000271) Homepage

    My company is located outside the USA and until a few years ago we would quote projects in USD and absorbed the diminished value of the USD over the term of the project. That changed a few years back because of the 2008 crash. We simply don't do business in USD. This means clients in the US are required to buy foreign currency and on a year by year basis drastically see our perceived cost go up in terms of funny money (USD)

    • by ledow (319597)

      And I bet the US companies always quote in US dollars because when they quote prices to foreign markets (to customers or in suppliers agreements), their currencies fluctuate so much in respect to the USD that they have to adjust everything.

      Same for anyone who doesn't use the native currency of the country where the majority of the work is done. Neither other currencies, nor Bitcoin, will stop that happening anyway.

      And any company dealing in international deals will base their cost price in their own curren

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