Bitcoin machines might just be popping up like wildflowers all across the U.K. later this year thanks to a new deal between bitcoin ATM maker Lamassu and newly formed distributor QuikBit. Based in the self-governing British dependency of the Isle of Man, QuikBit aims to build a network of ATM-like automated vending machines (AVMs) across the U.K. in cafes and shops. Although no exact numbers have been released, locations in the Isle of Man and Manchester have been confirmed by QuikBit.
While the terms ATM and AVM are often used interchangeably for bitcoin machines, there are some key differences. While bitcoin ATMs are increasingly complex machines offering two-way transactions and some bank-like services, AVMs generally perform the single function of exchanging fiat currency into cryptocurrency and depositing the balance to a wallet via QR code. As such, AVMs act more like traditional vending machines, with transactions that only take a matter of seconds complete.
Compared to the painfully slow and decidedly not-anonymous process bitcoin ATMs require to meet anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations, AVMs are faster and far more easy to use. Although the legality of these machines may eventually come into question as bitcoin regulation increases, their lower cost and newcomer-friendly designs make them an attractive option for retail businesses wanting to experiment with offering bitcoin services to their customers. The open-source Skyhook AVM, for instance, will sell for a mere $999.
It’s unknown if QuikBit is actually capable of being the company to bring bitcoin AVMs to greater Britain. Although the deal with Lamassu is promising, QuikBit has only been in existence for a matter of weeks and is still a complete unknown in the bitcoin community. The company has yet to place their first AVM in any location, and as of this writing lacks even a Facebook or Twitter account. While by no means damning, skepticism about their plans to be “one of the largest operators of Bitcoin AVM’s in the UK” is warranted until at least some of the units are placed and active.