Canberra latest addition to bitcoin boom with high-tech ATM

Canberra latest addition to bitcoin boom with high-tech ATM

Date: July 19, 2014 – 10:50PM

Matthew Raggatt, Reporter at The Canberra Times

ABA Technology director Robert Masters uses the ATM. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

ABA Technology director Robert Masters uses the ATM. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

At first glance it looks like any other ATM but Canberra is now home to a fingerprint-reading, eye-scanning teller, after a bitcoin machine began operation at the Canberra Centre on Saturday.

Installers say the ATM – the third in Australia after Sydney and Melbourne – will allow people to cash in or out of the the digital currency and quickly set up an account.

ABA Technology director Robert Masters said the ATM in the second floor food court would allow a new user to create an account within three to six minutes, instead of waiting weeks for verification using a home computer.

Mr Masters keys in information using the ATM. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

Mr Masters keys in information using the ATM. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

“It’s done firstly by setting a phone number,” Mr Masters said. ”It will send you a pin, you verify the pin, [and] it will then ask you for a fingerprint and eye scan.”

ABA Technology operates the ATMs and plans to introduce 100 across Australia by the end of next year, he said.

Bitcoins are an electronic currency that are transferable through an ewallet device installed on a person’s computer or mobile device.

Mr Masters, 30, said its beauty was in its decentralised nature.

Australian Bitcoin ATMs director Robert Masters uses Canberra's first Two-Way Bitcoin ATM at Canberra Centre. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

Australian Bitcoin ATMs director Robert Masters uses Canberra’s first Two-Way Bitcoin ATM at Canberra Centre. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

“You can send money directly across the globe with no fees, it’s instantly traceable and secure, and there’s no bank or Western Union (type) intermediaries,” he said.

Several cafes in Canberra accept the currency, as do ACTION Buses, with websites including eBay and Expedia also on board.

“There’s over 300 [connected] merchants Australia-wide and over 25,000 worldwide,” Mr Masters said.

Australian Bitcoin ATMs director Robert Masters uses Canberra's first Two-Way Bitcoin ATM at Canberra Centre. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

Australian Bitcoin ATMs director Robert Masters uses Canberra’s first Two-Way Bitcoin ATM at Canberra Centre. Photo by: Jamila Toderas

Computer giant Dell announced last week it would accept bitcoins for purchases from its website, reportedly becoming the largest corporation to trade with the currency, which began publicly in 2009.

There are a reported 12 million bitcoins in circulation, although Forbes said this year more than 90 per cent were hoarded as an investment.

The cryptocurrency is now priced at about $670 a bitcoin.

via Canberra latest addition to bitcoin boom with high-tech ATM.

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