ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — What is being touted as the first public-use bitcoin vending machine in the United States has been operating for more than a week in the smoky, dimly lit lounge of an Albuquerque cigar bar.
The owner of the kiosk located in Imbibe on Central Avenue, former Yahoo executive Eric Stromberg, credits the machine for streamlining the process of converting cash to the virtual currency — a process he said normally involves buying off another person or going through various online exchanges and sources that typically involve identity verification and a bank account.
“For the customers, the entire process is reduced from days or weeks to minutes or seconds with minimal information required,” he told the Journal.
Stromberg and the kiosk’s manufacturer, Lamassu Inc., say the Albuquerque machine was the first to open in the United States. Other machines already are in operation in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany and Slovakia, a Lamassu spokeswoman said. Another was slated to go live Wednesday in Boston.
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