World’s First Bitcoin ATM Goes Live in Vancouver


Housed in a Howe St. coffee shop, the world’s first permanent bitcoin ATM went live Monday

When local entrepreneur Mitchell Demeter installed a clunky blue and silver box about the size of a refrigerator inside of a Howe St. coffee shop in the shadow of the provincial court yesterday Vancouver became the site of an unlikely global first.
Demeter’s bitcoin kiosk is touted as the world’s first bitcoin ATM: the only place in the world where you can walk in off the street and purchase bitcoins, units of a digital currency unregulated by any central bank widely reputed to be the base currency for the defunct Silk Road exchange, an online underground marketplace.
Housed in a Waves Coffee franchise, one of a handful of local small businesses that accept bitcoin, the machine will be operated by Vancouver’s Bitcoiniacs and its maker Las Vegas-based Robocoin.
Mitchell Demeter, entrepreneur and co-founder of Bitcoiniancs, a trading company founded earlier this year and part owner of Robocoin has plans to deploy five such kiosks in major Canadian cities.
“We offer our clients the ability to buy and sell bitcoins in person, we’ve got an account with the exchanges and when somebody comes in we buy bitcoins on their behalf and send them to them or we sell them on the market they send the bitcoins to use and we send them cash,” said Demeter in an interview with BCBusiness.
“You can spend them in different businesses around Vancouver, there’s a ton of businesses online,” he said.
The machine trades Canadian currency, cash only, for online bitcoins. All transactions are anonymous, although the machine requires users to scan their palm to ensure that they trade below a limit of up to $3,000 per day – intended to deter money launderers.
Currently worth about $210 each – circulation is limited to the capped existing 21-million bitcoin – the currency’s value has fluxuated from a low of $13 per unit in January to a high of $266 in April.