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First Bitcoin ATM arrives in Austria

The Local · 3 Jul 2014, 20:11

Published: 03 Jul 2014 20:11 GMT+02:00

Manufactured by the Israeli company Lamassu in Portugal, the ATM accepts regular Euros, and dispenses Bitcoins to your electronic wallet within 15 seconds, by scanning a QR (bar) code on your smart phone.

The ATM is in the premises of Coinfinity, the Graz-based Bitcoin company.  It is the first such machine in Austria, and one of over 100 similar machines available world-wide.  The use of Bitcoin is largely unregulated, especially in France where authorities recently busted an unlicensed trading operation.

By using a Bitcoin ATM, customers may purchase Bitcoins at the currently-prevailing exchange rate for as little as €5.

"By using our Bitcoin ATM, customers can quickly and securely buy Bitcoins in a simple manner. The purchase of small amounts is also possible. We offer offer help and advice regarding the installation of a digital wallet for the safekeeping of Bitcoins", says Stefan Kliment, one of the two managing directors of Coinfinity. 

During the first few weeks, the Bitcoin ATM will be operated in cooperation with ypool.net from the city of St. Pölten, who provided the machine.

"Since we decided to upgrade our own order to the latest hardware version, we experienced a slight delay in our order. To be able to avoid further delay, we contacted ypool.net", states the management of Coinfinity.

Bitcoin is a type of electronic-only digital currency, based on strong encryption and requiring powerful computer systems to create them.  Anyone can create their own Bitcoin, but without specialist hardware the cost of doing so greatly outweighs their value.

In the past Bitcoin, which is designed to be traded on a peer-to-peer basis internationally without the involvement of any banks, has caused controversy due to concerns about drug dealing and money laundering, as it is largely untraceable - effectively being a type of digital cash.

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Additionally, the value of Bitcoin has fluctuated wildly since it were created, with a single Bitcoin now worth around US$646 (€473).  As with any currency speculation, it's a case of caveat emptor - buyer beware.  

However, with the massive losses incurred by banks such as Hypo Alpe Adria, Bank Austria and Erste Bank, perhaps a purely digital currency is the way to go?

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