A reader of my articles and CCN contacted me about his experience with a the Bitcoin ATM Robocoin at the D in Las Vegas recently. He was upset not only to it being difficult to use, but the fees were very high as well.
High fees are one thing that people who use Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies want to get away from having to pay just to make a transaction. The clunky interface and difficulty to make a transaction it can and does leave many users frustrated and to people new to Bitcoin afraid to try it even as the ATM does not work as smoothly as the ones they are used to.
[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap] thought maybe you might be interested about how disappointing it was trying to use the Robocoin ATM at the ‘D’ in Las Vegas.
I tried 3 times for over 20 minutes to even get a text message and nothing.
If they really want to make this an ATM and encourage people to use Bitcoin, a 5% fee to buy or sell is extreme, and I would personally never use their ATM. Yes, ATM fees are high even for banks but they cap it at about $4 if it’s a non banking ATM, and then your bank charges you a fee too. But at the current price of Bitcoin their ATM wants to charge you $30-$35 for a transaction, and should the price increase wow.
This is an ATM, and they are treating it like a commodity trading device. They can process a trade behind on an exchange at that moment and keep the risk at a minimum, but the difference would be like 0.5%.
I do not see these machines becoming successful unless they change the fees. During my time there, I saw like 10 groups wondering what it was all about, but when they saw the price between buy and sell, they all said no way will they try Bitcoin.
If anything these ATM are discouraging people to try Bitcoin instead of helping.
Note: My reader wishes to be anonymous
While many users like CCN’s own Caleb Chen have had success using the Robocoin ATM, this is not the first time, I had heard of people having issues with it. The sheer time it takes to complete many of the transactions or the amount of steps that can include things like hand scans and giving it your ID as well can deter many people. Things like this deter many people who have no technical experience or do not have time to wait and just want a simple transaction. Many people want a quick transaction as well without giving up so much personal information.
These issues have to be addressed soon to help adoption and to facilitate widespread use of the ATM’s. I know that Robocoin and other Bitcoin ATM manufacturers are working on solutions I just hope they get to them before more people are discouraged from using them.
We cannot afford to have the image of Bitcoin only being a “Techy” thing. We need people to see Bitcoin as something everyone can use that is simple to use and understand.
The sheer trust that you need to give an ATM your ID and palm scans is also a huge issue. Robocoin may have the best intentions but in this day and age of identity theft and companies getting hacked all the time leaves many people wary of anything that asks for more than a minimum of information. A hacker getting this kind of information from a Robocoin ATM could be a disaster that is larger than other types of identity info theft. The reason being you can also call your banks to get new cards and charges dropped even though it can be difficult. For all that you cannot change your palm print.
I am hopeful that more two way Bitcoin and cryptocurrency ATMs come to the market and that companies like Robocoin address the issues they already have sooner rather than later.
I am going to keep watching how this develops and look forward to a future where a Bitcoin ATM is in use more than a bank ATM.
Last modified: June 4, 2014 18:48 UTC