New ATMs turn real money into Bitcoins
The machines will convert cash or funds from your bank account into the digital currency -- for a very real fee.
Bitcoins are taking a step into the real world, with an entrepreneur planning to introduce ATMs for the digital currency in Los Angeles and Cyprus.
But there's a catch: Rather than dispensing cash, the Bitcoin ATMs will transform your hard-earned real money into the digital currency. On top of that, the ATMs will charge fees of about 3%, which is slightly more than what regular ATMs charge, according to CNN.
The ATMs will convert cash into Bitcoins stored in a Bitcoin wallet, or else will transform the cash stored in a personal Bitcoin account into the digital currency, according to the report.
The electronic tellers were developed by 42-year old Jeff Berwick, who says he's had orders for hundreds of the ATMs from 30 countries.
"It's been hard to get access to Bitcoins," Berwick told CNBC, explaining what spurred the idea for the devices. "You can trade them over the Internet, but it's not all that easy to do."
So what can you do with a Bitcoin? As my MSN moneyNOW colleague Kim Peterson wrote on Wednesday, you can use them on sites such as PizzaForCoins, which takes Bitcoin payments and then places pizza orders with companies such as Domino's (DPZ).
But people are also buying Bitcoins to hedge against real currencies, viewing them as a new way to store their money. Their value has surged from about 4 cents in 2010 to more than $140 in recent weeks amid worries about the strength of government-backed currencies and the bank runs in Cyprus.
That's leading to concerns about Bitcoins themselves, with fears that the digital currency is in the midst of a bubble. Then there are concerns about the security of the virtual currency, which quickly lost 20% of its value last night after one of its top exchanges was hacked, according to CNBC.
But its freewheeling culture is one of the virtual currency's advantages, according to Berwick.
"These are the kinds of really exciting innovations that can come from the free market," he said. "This monetary system we have today is much more dangerous than anything Bitcoin has."
To me Bitcoins are a disaster waiting to happen...Has anyone ever held a Bitcoin in their hand.?.
Actually maybe they have? or I might have one in my hand now?...It's called air.
I wouldn't suggest putting all of your money into Bitcoin, as with any other thing, but to have a hundred dollars or two worth of BTC to spend is always handy.
Have you ever help a dollar in your hand? It is just a piece of paper and nothing else...lol
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A strategist with Bank of America analyzes the currency in a 14-page note to clients -- and likes what he sees.
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