Cryptocurrency news that has ignited the imagination of techies, investors and investigators — has come to Texas.On Thursday, organizers unveiled one of the USA’s first Bitcoin ATMs in the back room of a downtown Austin bar. Other Bitcoin machines have sprouted in Boston and Albuquerque, but those offer only Bitcoins for cash — not cash for Bitcoins. BTC to USD converter.The Austin ATM would be the first of its kind in the USA to dispense cash.
The Austin ATMs are being rolled out in time for SXSW, the three-week interactive/film/music conference that begins March 7.
The first Bitcoin ATM was set up at a Vancouver coffeehouse last year. Austin, known for its vibrant tech community as well as scores of music clubs, was a natural spot to launch one of the first U.S. Bitcoin ATMs, said Jordan Kelley, chief executive of Robocoin, the Las Vegas company that makes the machines.
“We’re really excited about the community and culture Austin has,” he said. “And it’s a fantastically central location. It’s right on the 50-yard-line of the U.S.”
The ATM is at the Handlebar, a hipster hangout on East Fifth Street in Austin. The machine will scan a user’s palm print and government-issued ID to verify identity, then allow the user to add money to a virtual Bitcoin “wallet” or withdraw the currency to a mobile phone app, Kelley said.
The machine will also perform a one-time face recognition scan to verify identity. “All you need is your phone, your ID, your palm and your face – all the things people carry with them on a daily basis,” he said.
Bitcoin, which could be used to buy anything from a steak dinner to sporting event tickets, has had its share of controversy