NZ's first two Bitcoin ATMs unveiled

The country's first two operating Bitcoin ATMs have been unveiled, allowing New Zealanders to buy the digital currency with cash.

Two ATMs owned by a local firm called Bitto NZ were launched at an event in Auckland last night.

Bitto co-founder Jonathan Ewing said the machines were made by Portuguese firm Lamassu and were two of around 120 currently being used globally.

The machines aren't "hole-in-the-wall" type ATMs and will be available only for use at events and by appointment, Ewing said.

The ATMs are one-way and allow users to buy Bitcoin using cash but not sell the digital currency and withdraw New Zealand dollars.

This is to encourage people to get involved with Bitcoin "eco-system," Ewing said.

"We don't want to see them cash-out. There's other methods and ways for them to do that and we can point people in the right direction but we're all about helping people get into Bitcoin."

People use the machines by scanning a QR code of their Bitcoin wallet and entering cash into the ATM.

"[Using the machine] you immediately receive the funds in Bitcoin 30 seconds later, with an up to 10 minute confirmation time," he said.

The Herald has heard of eight ATMs planned for New Zealand - six in Auckland and two in Wellington. Ewing said he was aware of these but wasn't directly involved.

One of the planned ATMs is likely to be a two-way machine, allowing people to buy Bitcoin and cash out.

Together with the ATMs, a local not-for-profit organisation aiming to foster the development of the cryptocurrency - called the Bitcoin Association - was also announced last night.

Bitcoin is a form of exchange detached from any country, government or physical commodity. Its users are their own bank, with Bitcoins stored in and transferred between encrypted digital wallets.

 

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