(Photo11: Deborah Jones, Getty Images)
(USA TODAY) What comes out of a Bitcoin ATM?
Don't expect a rush of coins to shoot out of a hatch like at the casinos.
Bitcoins are all digital. Once the customer puts money into a Bitcoin ATM, such as the one launching in Austin, the machine dispenses a small paper QR code, which looks like a barcode, says Jordan Kelley, chief executive of Las Vegas-based Robocoin, which makes the ATMs. That code is scanned to a mobile app, which boosts the customer's bitcoin balance by the deposited amount.
A user can also get cash for his bitcoins at the ATM by scanning the mobile app containing the encrypted bitcoin balance. The machine will then dispense the amount of cash requested, Kelley says.
Other Bitcoin machines recently launched in New Mexico and Boston allow customers to get bitcoins for cash - but don't dispense cash for bitcoins, a key distinction between those machines and the Austin ATM, he says.
Users will need to scan their palm prints, as well as a government-issued ID, using biometric scanners. And first-time users will need to do a face scan to authenticate their identity.
Bitcoins can also be obtained at online exchanges, but it's a process that takes several days, whereas the ATM can do it nearly instantaneously, Kelley says.
"You're talking about incredible speeds," he says. "You're able to buy and sell within minutes, not days."