In a pinch and need cash? Your Bitcoin account may soon be able to save you.
The world’s first-ever Bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday, enabling Bitcoin owners to exchange the digital currency for cash, and vice versa. A total of 81 transactions took place with more than $10,000 exchanged from one currency to another,ABC News reported.
The machine, which resides at Waves Coffee House in Vancouver’s downtown area, uses a palm scanner to access each Bitcoin owner’s account. Users who don’t already own Bitcoin can still exchange cash for the currency, and create an account on the spot. In fact, a third of Wednesday’s 81 ATM users were first-timers, according to Geekwire.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is unregulated by any central bank or government, but still works for purchasing goods and services from retailers willing to accept it. Bitcoins, which are created when they are “mined” or generated by a super computer, also trade on an open market that fluctuates much like a stock market.
The currency is gaining in popularity, as more and more businesses continue to accept it as payment. Baidu, known as China’s Google, began accepting Bitcoin for the first time earlier this month.
The ATM in Vancouver is operated by Las Vegas-based Robocoin and Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs. The YouTube video from Robocoin, below, shows the ATM in action. Based on its first-day success, don’t be surprised to see Bitcoin ATMs crop up across the United States in the near future.