Curtis Machek, left, uses the world's first bitcoin ATM at Waves Coffee House on October 29, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. "It was so easy," he said. "I wanted to try out this new machine that hopefully will change the world." The ATM, named Robocoin, allows users to buy or sell the digital currency known as bitcoins. Once only used for black market sales on the internet, bitcoins are starting to be accepted at a growing number of businesses. [Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images]
A bitcoin ATM, said to be the first in the world, opened on Tuesday at a coffee shop in Vancouver.
The ATM at Waves Coffee House is the first of five ATMs that have been bought by Canadian company Bitcoiniacs.
Bitcoin is an online currency that's been in circulation since it was invented by an anonymous computer programmer about four years ago and is now starting to gain mainstream acceptance.
Cheyne Mackie's company Bitcoiniacs brought the new bitcoin ATM to Vancouver and says he's confident in the currency.
"Our target audience will be everybody. We want to make it easy for my mum, my grandma, my aunt and my brother to come down and buy and sell bitcoins," said Mackie.
A Nevada-based firm, Robocoin makes the bitcoin ATMs.
The CEO of the company, Jordan Kelly says it's no surprise that bitcoin is gaining a foothold in the marketplace.กก
"It's a really exciting investment opportunity. I think a lot of people are seeing it as that," said Kelly.
He added: "Right now we are seeing a consistent increase in demand for bitcoin and rightfully so because the currency is getting more useful."
Other businesses cite a variety of reasons for accepting bitcoin, including how it can help attract a younger, tech-saavy demographic.
But the currency does have it's drawbacks. It's notorious for its use in online drug transactions.
Its value can fluctuate wildly depending on demand, and people using bitcoin have to pay an exchange rate, just like someone changing money during an overseas trip.
"Let's say bitcoin is now worth 100 dollars," Kelly pointed out. "You pay 103 dollars per bitcoin."
Last week, the United States Attorney in New York announced that about 28 million (US dollars) worth of bitcoins were seized from a man charged with operating a notorious online drug marketplace known as Silk Road.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Friday more than 144,000 bitcoins were found on computer hardware belonging to Ross William Ulbricht.
Silk Road gained notoriety as a black market bazaar where drugs could be bought and sold using bitcoins, a form of online cash.
1 2 3