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Dirty battle brewing: Where is the first Bitcoin ATM in the U.S.?

(Finance News) Today, the web exploded with excitement surrounding the first Bitcoin ATM, but each news organization reported a different city – so who really is home to the first?

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Uh oh, there’s a conflict a brewin’

This morning, we published a story announcing that the first Bitcoin ATM in America will open tomorrow in Austin, but apparently, there are stories floating around that Boston, Albuquerque, or maybe even Seattle are home to the first Bitcoin ATM in operation. There are three reasons that there is confusion surrounding the issue.

First, there are two Bitcoin ATM manufacturers (Robocoin and Lamassu) that have products going live this week, so the first element of the confusion is rooted in this competition and conflicting information with both claiming to be first.

Third, there are machines being called ATMs that some wouldn’t necessarily consider to be ATMs, because we’re used to a bi-directional transaction machine, but some of the machines live this week are uni-directional.

Let’s talk about what each city is offering and when to determine the true winner of where the hell the first real Bitcoin ATM is in the United States O’ America.

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Canada did it first

Asia and Canada already have Bitcoin ATMs in operation, so like they say on South Park, blame Canada. Today’s argument is focused on where in the United States can claim the fame of having the first operational Bitcoin ATM.

Is Boston the winner?

In Boston, Liberty Teller unveiled a working Bitcoin ATM this morning made by Lamassu, but it is not anchored, but is manned by the creators, and it is said that you can deposit Bitcoin from the machine into an existing digital wallet by scanning a QR code or via paper wallet, which can be printed at the machine. In other words, you put cash in, you get Bitcoin out.

The creators are manning the table with the machine until they figure out how to get it permanently installed, with the following photo courtesy of Reddit user, nothanks123:
bitcoin atm

We suspect that they got this up and running to be able to claim a first before the permanent install was really ready, but that doesn’t make them any less in first place.

Is Seattle the winner?

Several news organizations have misread Robocoins press releases and have published stories (like this one) indicating that the city will have operational Bitcoin ATMs later this month, but with other cities already operating the machine, Seattle isn’t the winner of this race. Sorry, you may have won the Super Bowl, but not the Bitcoin ATM race.

Is Albuquerque the winner?

Yesterday, Lamassu flipped the “on” switch on one of their machines yesterday, which is permanently installed at Imbibe, an upscale cigar bar and lounge in Albuquerque near the University of New Mexico. Because it is a uni-directional ATM, it is still an ATM, nonetheless. Lamassu calls it more of a “vending machine” since it does not dispense cash, but it is an ATM based on the actual definition.

CNET offers a picture of the device live as of yesterday, February 18th:
enchanted bitcoins albuquerque

Is Austin the winner?

We reported earlier today that Austin would be the first in the nation to be home to a real Bitcoin ATM, and while it will be a Robocoin machine and bi-directional (can pull or deposit cash), it will not go live until tomorrow. Many consider this the first Bitcoin ATM, given that the founder of Lamassu calls his machine more of a vending machine because it is uni-directional, based on the definition of ATM, Austin is not the first to get a machine, but is first to get a bi-directional ATM.

So who is the winner?

IT’S A TIE. Kind of.

Austin is, in fact, the home of the first bi-directional ATM that allows you to pull cash in a traditional sense, but Albuquerque is the home of the first uni-direcitonal ATM which pre-dates Austin by two days.

So we’ll leave it to you – do you think Austin or Albuquerque is first to have a Bitcoin ATM?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Bitcoin ATM

    March 5, 2014 at 1:18 am

    “Get used a
    lot by both honest and dis honest people, No problems”

    https://www.bitcoinmoneyatm.com

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Business Finance

Credit card companies crap on cryptocurrencies

(FINANCE NEWS) Credit card companies are now trying to make customers slow their roll when purchasing crypto – and it’s kind of shady.

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Visa and Mastercard and now making it more difficult for their customers to purchase cryptocurrency by slapping additional fees on transactions. This month, Bitcoin investors using Coinbase noticed additional fees on bank statements and were like, wait what?

Turns out, the credit card companies decided to reclassify cryptocurrency transaction type from “purchase” to “cash advance.”

Coinbase confirmed the change in an email to its customers, noting “the MCC code for digital currency purchases was changed by a number of the major credit card networks.”

A Mastercard spokesperson claimed the change “provides a consistent view of such purchases for both merchants and issuers.”

This means an additional five percent fee is slapped on to every transaction from the credit card company in addition to the four percent credit card processing fee Coinbase already passes on to its users.

Right now, if you want to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies instantly, your only option is using a credit or debit card. Transferring funds from your bank can take days, and since crypto prices can change in an instant, this isn’t a great option. Although there are lower fees for transferring funds via ACH, investors may get stung by fluctuating prices.

So basically, you’re going to use a credit or debit card for efficiency, but Visa and Mastercard want to make this harder on you. Unlike purchases, transactions labeled as “cash advances” don’t fall under an interest-free grace period. As soon as the purchase goes through, it accrues and compounds daily, so that’s pretty neat.

In addition to the new fee, cash advances carry higher interest rates as well.

Adding insult to injury, using a card for crypto purchases does not earn credit card points.

The card companies are equivocating bitcoin to withdrawing money from an ATM. This conflicts with the IRS’s stance that bitcoin is not currency, but rather taxable property.

Until everyone gets their stories straight, investors get stuck in the middle with more barriers to purchasing crypto, and conflicting regulation and processes.

And for Visa and Mastercard, that’s kind of the point. Their aim is to slow the rush of investment, even at the risk of losing potential millions in additional revenue. Assuming Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency don’t total crash and burn, eventually financial middlemen like credit card companies will be cut out of the picture.

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Business Finance

Don’t mess with Texas – especially when it comes to crypto

(FINANCE NEWS) The State of Texas is cracking down on crypto companies, and this won’t be the last cease and desist issued.

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After a one month undercover sting of crypto-currency startup DavorCoin, the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) issued another cease-and-desist letter, ordering the cryptocurrency company to stop all operations in the state immediately; this is the state’s fourth emergency cease-and-desist in just one month regulating cryptocurrency companies.

Jason Rotunda, director of enforcement division at the TSSB told CNBC, “We confirmed our suspicion that they were being marketed toward retirees. [DavorCoin] was not disclosing the information that needs to be disclosed to an investor.”

Other cryptocurrencies being issued cease-and-desists include companies r2b coin, BitConnect, and USI-Tech Limited. All of these companies either were promising implausible or impossible returns on investment, low risk investments coming from Bitcoin mining–without the evidence to back it up, or not disclosing information required by state law.

After the TSSB pulled the plug on BitConnect, they started their investigation of DavorCoin for promising extremely similar ROI. DavorCoin also has another strike against it, a potentially more serious one: Investment fraud. DavorCoin, according to CoinDesk, has “intentionally hidden material information of its business–including its principles and business location, as well as how it plans to realize investment promises for investors.”

The lack of transparency on not just the basic information regarding the business itself, but also an investor disbursement plan violates sections of the Texas Securities Act.

Texas currently is leading the way regarding the regulation of cryptocurrenty investment opportunities, in which other states as well as the federal government are following suit. Other states filing formal complaints against cryptocurrency companies include Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Kansas.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is taking note of the heightened amount of activity surrounding cryptocurrencies as well. Rotunda, also in his role as the vice chair of North American Securities Administrators Association, is trying to encourage regulatory agencies to adapt to this new way of doing business and investing.

“In both of those roles we’ve been monitoring cryptocurrencies quite a bit,” said Rotunda. “I think what we’re doing right now is we’re adapting to a new way of selling securities.”

The old adage is, after all, “don’t mess with Texas.” Especially when it comes to potentially defrauding investors through cryptocurrencies — but that’s kind of a mouthful.

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Business Finance

Fake crypto scam sends ransomware, then malware once you pay

(FINANCE) Buying unheard of ICOs just got much riskier as scammers find new ways to scam people out of their crypto investments while stealing their identities. Great.

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Cryptocurrency is hot right now. And while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are supposedly more secure than regular currency, that doesn’t mean that hackers aren’t looking for ways to take advantage of the trend.

A newly discovered ransomware scam banks on people’s desire to get rich quick by buying cryptocurrencies. The scam advertises a new cryptocurrency called SpriteCoin.

SpriteCoin isn’t a real currency; it’s just a ruse to get people to install ransomware. Often, SpriteCoin ads appear on forums where people learn about and discuss other cryptocurrencies, making SpriteCoin seem like the real deal (hence why social media sites are opting to nix all ads about cyrpto).

The ransomware is disguised as a wallet containing SpriteCoin. While your computer appears to be downloading the blockchain for your SpriteCoin, it is actually encrypting all of your files, while also raiding Chrome and Firefox for your stored passwords. Next, you receive a ransom note demanding that you pay up in order to get a decryption key, or else your files will be locked forever.

The ransom note demands payment in Monero, a cryptocurrency, to the tune of about $100. The note claims that “only we can decrypt your files. Don’t worry, we’ll give you your files back if you pay.”

To add insult to injury, once the Monero ransom has been paid, the hackers install additional malware that harvests personal data and gives hackers the power activate your webcam.

This ransomware scam was discovered by cyber security company Fortinet. Fortinet’s experts think that this scam, which is demanding a (relatively) inexpensive ransom, could be a pilot program for hackers to test out new delivery mechanisms for ransomware and malware. They want to see how many people will fall for the scam before scaling up.

Fortinet also explains that Monero is becoming the new cryptocurrency of choice amongst thieves using ransomware, because Bitcoin transaction fees have gone up and there is typically a delay on payments.

Cryptocurrencies could be a good investment – but make sure you do your research and only buy legit cryptocurrencies, lest you fall victim to such a vicious and repetitive scam.

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