The first Bitcoin ATM in Australia launched yesterday in Sydney's CBD, allowing users of the digital currency to buy and sell bitcoins with "convenience".
First-time bitcoin users can only trade in the digital, or cryto-currency, after registering an account, and must verify
their identity using a three-step process. First you need to scan your palm to
create a biometric identity marker, then scan an ID such as a driver’s licence
and then match a photo of your face with your ID to authenticate your identity.
To make transactions, virtual bankers can use cash or cards
to add to their bitcoin virtual currency wallet or they can withdraw money that
is held in their Bitcoin account.
The world’s first Bitcoin ATM was launched in a Vancouver cafe last October and ABA, the company behind Sydney’s Bitcoin ATM, plans to have 100 in Australia by 2015.
Bitcoin works as a peer-to-peer system where payments are delivered as transactions from one person to another over the internet. The bitcoins have a value and can be bought, sold and exchanged. ATMs allow these exchanges to occur via the internet through the terminal in stores and cafes like regular cash machines.
However, not everyone is convinced that Bitcoin is safe. The National Australia Bank thinks it’s too risky. The bank itself doesn’t trade in bitcoins and no longer wants to support business that do. It will be closing the accounts of business customer that primarily trade in bitcoins or other crypto-currencies.