The Bitcoin ATM Has a Dirty Secret: It Needs a Chaperone

robocoingaurd29 Jan 2014 / Wired – VANCOUVER — When Mitchell Demeter and Jackson Warren opened the world’s first bitcoin ATM at a coffee shop in Vancouver, it was an instant success. People actually lined up to use the machine, which processed about $1 million in digital currency transactions over its first month.

But one day in November, a few weeks after launching the ATM, Demeter noticed something peculiar as he perused the machine’s transaction data at his office, across town from the coffee shop. At one point, the machine had voided 15 transactions in a row, for no obvious reason. So he drove down to the cafe, and as he walked through the front door, he immediately saw the problem.

A man was sitting next to the machine, at one of the cafe’s wooden tables, and he was holding a sign that read: “Don’t Pay Transaction Fees.” This very human entrepreneur, you see, was undercutting the world’s first bitcoin ATM. As people walked in to use the machine — which was charging a 7 percent transaction fee — he offered to exchange their money, by hand, at a lower rate…. Read more

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