Cryptocurrency Goes Mainstream: Las Vegas Installs Bitcoin ATM on The Strip

Sin City, USA: Now Accepting Bitcoin

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless what happens is winning money. In which case, you can now convert your cash into Bitcoin.

The Las Vegas Strip, a 4.2 mile stretch of road known for its luxurious hotels and swanky casinos, has just installed its first Bitcoin automated teller machine. While certain Las Vegas casinos like The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino are already accepting Bitcoin in lieu of cash, the Bitcoin ATM located on Las Vegas Blvd just south of Harmon Blvd is the first time the cryptocurrency has been available on the Las Vegas Strip.

The ATM is owned and operated by Robocoin, a global network for cryptocurrency that’s trying to make Bitcoin accessible to the majority of the world. They currently have branches in thirteen different countries and claim that they are able to provide “a fast, secure way for everyone to purchase Bitcoin and get cash instantly.” Just how safe are Robocoin’s ATMs? Well, let’s just say it has a feature that probably should have been implemented into cash ATMs a long time ago: A three-step authentication process that involves your phone number, PIN and biometric palm-vein recognition.

The world's first Bitcoin ATM is now available on the Las Vegas Strip.

A Bitcoin ATM is now available on the Las Vegas Strip.

Advantages of Biometric Palm-Vein Technology

  1. Palm-vein technology does not collect invasive, insecure fingerprints.
  2. Palm-vein biometrics cannot be secretly collected and duplicated like fingerprints or face photos.
  3. No known methods of forging palm-vein patterns exist.

Biometrics solve the problem of having your information compromised.  While it’s a popular method of identification used by the FBI and CIA, it has yet to become universally adopted because it’s considered to be relatively new technology. Robocoin, however, understands that privacy is one of the main reasons people use Bitcoin and believes biometrics will help them become a legitimate contender in the emerging market for Bitcoin ATMs.

“Seriously, how Bush League is an ATM if it can’t do the equivalent of deposits and withdrawals or be left unattended?” – Jordan Kelly, Robocoin CEO

Expanding the liquidity of Bitcoin is not only necessary for the cryptocurrency to succeed, but something that many companies are trying to get a stronghold on. Many Bitcoin ATM businesses are operating today, but Robocoin is recognized as the first to integrate features that target global banking and remittance markets with features that allow customers to store, deposit, withdraw and send bitcoin worldwide to any phone number, email address or digital wallet.

Robocoin is also the first Bitcoin ATM manufacturer to offer inherent fraud protection, regulatory compliance and multifaceted security measures. If the Las Vegas Strip’s Bitcoin ATM proves to be a success, it’s highly plausible that more machines will open along Las Vegas Blvd and turn the cryptocurrency into a widely accepted payment method. We may even see Bitcoin ATMs replacing traditional ATMs in heavily-trafficked locations.

Las Vegas is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and a Bitcoin ATM offers traveler’s many advantages that a traditional cash ATM cannot. Bitcoin is the ideal currency for those without American bank accounts or credit cards because many international banks don’t allow transactions in a foreign country without hefty fees. With a Bitcoin ATM, tourists are be able to withdraw American cash at a competitive rate and convert it back to Bitcoin before they leave the country – all without a bank account or ATM card.

The expansion of Bitcoin ATMs will rely heavily on two factors: legal status and acceptance. Currently, Bitcoin is legal and freely accepted by most countries, but is banned or restricted in China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon and Bolivia. While only nine countries are defectors of Bitcoin, they represent a huge chunk of the global population. There’s no indication that these countries will change their mind about cryptocurrency, but as more countries install ATMs there’s a good chance they’ll take notice.

Many countries freely accept bitcoin. (Key: Green=Legal, Yellow=Restricted, Red=Banned)

Many countries freely accept bitcoin. (Key: Green=Legal, Yellow=Restricted, Red=Banned Grey=Unknown)

Bitcoin ATMs are currently available in the United States, Canada, Australia, Finland, Slovakia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland; but they are rapidly expanding. Bitcoin ATMs have been announced for prevalent tourist locales and will soon be installed in Singapore, New York City, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Brazil and Portugal. As more consumers begin accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, the legality of Bitcoin by country is also likely to be reformed.

Bitcoin is the first and most accepted cryptocurrency available today. Many companies, including Newegg, accept it as a form of payment and even offer discounts to those that use it at checkout. And while fraud, theft and a black market do exist within the Bitcoin network, the same could be said about any other currency. But Bitcoin separates itself because its value is determined solely by supply and demand – not sentiment and market psychology or technical factors like the U.S. dollar.

Many people don't bother carrying a lot of cash.

Cash is not as popular as it once was.

The world’s first ATM was installed in New York City in 1961 and was removed after six months due to lack of customer acceptance. Half a century later, two out five consumers carry less than $20 in cash on a daily basis. Traditional currency no longer dominates the marketplace like it used to and debit cards, credit cards and electronic payment apps are quickly becoming the preferred method of payment. Cash isn’t going away anytime soon, but if Bitcoin ATMs become accepted, cryptocurrency could be the medium of exchange that dominates the future. You may even catch yourself betting with bitcoin the next time you visit Las Vegas.

“1 bitcoin on black!”

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4 Responses to Cryptocurrency Goes Mainstream: Las Vegas Installs Bitcoin ATM on The Strip

  1. Justin Hannah July 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Someone finally used Fujitsu Frontech’s palm vein scanner in an American ATM

  2. Mike Rotman (@mikerotman) July 31, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    Darn I was just there. We have a game show Take My Bitcoins- we give away 3-4 bitcoins a week so good to know we can mention this to our winners!

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