Albuquerque, New Mexico has emerged as the first US city to install a Bitcoin vending machine.
The machine’s manufacturer, Lamassu, revealed that it was installed at Imbibe, a cigar shop located near the University of New Mexico.
The new Bitcoin vending machine enables people to insert cash in exchange for a digital stash of the cryptocurrency.
Eric Stromberg, owner of the Bitcoin vending machine in Albuquerque, said: “This is my current contribution to advancing Bitcoin into the mainstream.”
Instead of using the term “ATMs”, Lamassu used the word “vending machine” because it does not dispense cash like usual ATMs.
Last year, a true Bitcoin ATM was installed by Las Vegas-based company Robocoin in Vancouver. This machine allowed for both Bitcoin-to-cash and cash-to-Bitcoin transactions.
For some time, operators of Bitcoin vending machines have been trying to take the devices to other US cities, such as San Francisco and New York. However, regulatory hurdles prevented them from doing so.
“I can’t really afford to hire a team of lawyers to walk me through the legal issues involved with this machine,” said San Francisco resident Cole Albon, who has been in possession of a Lamassu Bitcoin vending machine for almost a month but has yet to deploy it.
Aside from a strict anti-money laundering program, California law requires Albon to post a bond of $250,000 in order to operate the machine. He reckons that New Mexico’s relaxed regulations enabled it to host the first Bitcoin vending machine in the US.