Share Button

Skyhook's ATM prototype.

Skyhook’s ATM prototype.

The launch of a single bitcoin ATM is still relatively big news in the cryptocurrency world. At the moment, the machines are uncommon even on the streets of large cities, and practically unheard of in smaller ones. In Vancouver, Canada, a bitcoin startup called Quadriga CX has announced plans to make virtual currency ATMs as common as a Starbucks. According to a report in the Vancouver Free Press, Quadriga has ordered 30 new bitcoin ATMs from open-source manufacturer Project Skyhook, and if offering to install them at local stores and restaurants at no charge to the owners.

Quadriga’s spokesman, Aaron Vaithilingam, explained that simply having a bitcoin ATM on site can help a business attract new customers. “Just having one of these in your restaurant or venue, it’s going to bring in a lot of those younger, technical-savvy, future-thinking people. You want those kind of people coming into your business because they might be good future customers. Having one of these in your business shows you’re advancing and progressive thinking.”

One point in Quadriga’s favor is the relatively low cost of Project Skyhook ATMS. While high-end ATMs from makers like Lamassu or Robocoin can cost as much as $30,000, the stripped-down Skyhook models retail for $999. The one-way machines are perhaps more accurately called bitcoin vending machines, but their low cost and ease of use may make them a popular option for introducing bitcoin to casual users. As Vaithilingam told the paper: “I think this could help it go mainstream. Just people seeing it and seeing Bitcoin, people will talk about it.”

Will demand for bitcoin ATMs in Vancouver, a city with a population of just over 600,000, justify the launch of 30 machines? Even if not, the low cost for the batch of Skyhook ATMs and the potential profit margin for even one successful location (the company charges a 3% fee) make the long-term risk minimal.

Share Button