First Bitcoin ATM launches in Canada

The first Bitcoin ATM has launched in a Vancouver coffee shop, thanks to company Bitcoiniacs which plans five more machines for the rest of Canada.

The machine can scan a user's hand and allow them to transfer up to $1,000 a day in hard currency and Bitcoins. Customers can either trade cash into Bitcoins or vice-versa, letting them skip directly accessing Bitcoin exchanges across the web including MtGox.

Reuters reports that when the Bitcoin ATM launched on Tuesday, it drew a long line to use it in the coffee shop. Bitcoin is currently trading for $207 on the popular MtGox exchange, up from the average of $167.

As we've previously reported, Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency that is purely internet-based. Of course, as it's not a real, tangible object, it's a bit like trading in clouds or dreams, but the software used and organisations involved are robust enough for traders to buy and sell the currency much like they do with any other. Plus, there are plenty of retailers out there that accept Bitcoins for goods, so you are able to spend it too.

Earlier this month, the FBI shutdown Silk Road, a community that specialised in drug trade using Bitcoin. Oddly enough, the price of Bitcoin has since risen.

The new Bitcoin ATM is seen as way for users to exchange Bitcoin for hard cash quickly, rather than waiting days from an online exchange. The ATM verifies customers' identities by scanning their palm prints. They can then feed cash into the machine to deposit as bitcoins, or withdraw bitcoins from their e-wallet and get hard cash. Users can also sign up for an account to trade Bitcoins right on the spot.