First bitcoin ATM machine in Britain installed in Shoreditch

Bitcoin machine. Pic: Hannu Makarainen

Bitcoin machine. Pic: Hannu Makarainen

The first bitcoin ATM machine in Britain has been launched in a Shoreditch café, allowing members of the public to exchange Sterling for bitcoin.

The machine acts as an ATM for the virtual currency, allowing customers to simply scan a QR code, which acts as a bitcoin address/wallet, insert a note, and then press send on the screen.

Currency that is inserted into the ATM machine is automatically converted into bitcoin, a peer-to-peer virtual currency that is used without the need of a central bank.

Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures is the company behind the machine, which was installed in The Old Shoreditch Station Café on March 4.

Jeremy Thomas, an employee from the café said: “The customers are usually business men and young students in their 20’s.”

He also noted that since the machine had been installed, over 30 customers have used the currency for transactions.

Bitcoins have been the subject of lots of controversy, most notably last October when the American FBI closed down Silk Road, an online eBay for drugs and illegal items that used bitcoins in transactions.

Though Silk Road was able to come back into business the closure of the highly profitable site shook the bitcoin market, and the virtual currency dropped from £86 to £66 per bitcoin.

At the moment customers are limited to £1,000 worth of transactions a month, with an 8% commission fee. These figures may be subject to change, once the machine evolves from being manually topped up to automated.

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