Bitcoin users in Los Angeles will now be able to exchange digital currency for cash at two bitcoin-to-cash ATMs that opened in Los Angeles in late June. The ATMs, managed by Santa Monica bitcoin payment processor ExpressCoin, are both located in two Locali Conscious Convenience stores.
One bitcoin ATM is located in Hollywood at 5825 Franklin Avenue while the other is at 701 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice. The $15,000 ATMs were built by Robocoin, a Las Vegas manufacturer.
The ATMs use a security system that involves palm scanning technology and requires users to enter an email address as well to verify the transaction. The ATMs will allow users to sell or buy bitcoins in exchange for US currency or other forms of paper currency.
Locali stores currently do not accept bitcoin, although the stores are hoping to find a way to accept the currency using their current POS system.
Robocoin chief executive Jordan Kelly said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that the company has received more than 100 inquiries from other potential operators in Los Angeles, and the company plans to continue expanding throughout Southern California with more bank-like features that make bitcoins more ordinary to the public.
Robocoin launched its first bitcoin ATM in 2013 in Vancouver and has since sold ATMs in Tel Aviv and Hong Kong with ATMs in 13 countries. The company already has six operational bitcoin machines in the United States, including Las Vegas.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that first appeared in 2009 when an anonymous creator “buried” 21 million coins online. The digital currency quickly grew in popularity, with more than 1,000 merchants accepting bitcoins by 2012. Recently, Overstock.com announced plans to accept the currency in the second half of 2014.
The price of a Bitcoin has gone up from $1 in February 2011 to a high of $1,000 in January 2014, with a current value of around $600 per bitcoin. Bitcoin prices have fallen since the shutdown of MTGOX, a major Japanese bitcoin exchange, and uncertainty over whether the Chinese government would attempt to ban the currency exchanges.