Purchasing Bitcoin or altcoins through an online exchange can be time-consuming and frustrating. To ease this process, entrepreneurs developed Bitcoin ATMs, which function similarly to traditional ATMs, but transfer cryptocurrency rather than paper bills. Bitcoin ATMs have become quite popular. They have been installed all over the world – from Los Angeles to Honk Kong to Africa.
Despite their popularity, Bitcoin ATMs are quite expensive. Even Skyhook, branded the low-cost Bitcoin ATM option, costs nearly $1,000. To recoup their investment, Bitcoin ATM owners must pass that cost on to their customers via high ATM fees.
Two high school students believe they can create a Bitcoin ATM for a fraction of the price of current Bitcoin ATMs, and they have launched an Indiegogo campaign to help them realize their efforts.
Like many high schoolers, Lakota Lustig and Sagar Kumar are bolstering their resume by working a summer job, but their job plans are more ambitious than the average teenager’s. Lustig and Kumar have co-founded BitSell with plans to release the first $150 Bitcoin ATM. According to Kumar, current methods of purchasing cryptocurrency are inadequate. With experience in both coding and engineering, BitSell believe they can be the ones to simplify the process.
Current methods of online currency transfer are inefficient. Lakota and I wanted a way to make it faster and user friendly. We looked at current methods of currency transfer, and the ATM was an obvious and simple solution to our problem. A traditional ATM is quick and easy. That’s what we want for online currencies.
BitSell ATMs will support both Bitcoin and altcoin purchases. Indiegogo campaign supporters will have early input about which altcoins are accepted at launch, but ATM purchasers will be able to add support for any other altcoins they desire. Additionally, BitSell will give interested developers advance access to the API so they can have add-ons ready for launch. Once the BitSell ATMs go live, Lustig and Kumar will release their source code on GitHub.
BitSell have already developed an ATM prototype. As you can tell from the video demo, the design is quite rough, but the software is functional.
They key selling point for BitSell is the low price of their ATMs. Lustig and Kumar plan to cut costs by utilizing a minimalist style and not focusing on profit margins. Unlike most other Bitcoin ATMS, BitSell’s machines are not designed for heavy-duty outdoor use; they will be encased in plastic and sized to fit on a store counter-top.
They are also trimming prices by limiting the purchase options ATM users will have. Since paper bill readers can cost as much as several hundred dollars, BitSell chose to forego that purchase option. Instead, the ATMs will accept both credit card and mobile phone payments. Currently, the ATMs can only interact with NFC-enabled phones, but the developers are working on an alternate option for phones without NFC-support. If Bitsell reach their funding goal, they plan to experiment with adding coin validators to select models.
BitSell’s Indiegogo campaign has, thus far, struggled to gain backer support, despite its several interesting contributor packages. Without a doubt, the most attractive perk is the $100 option, through which backers can acquire a BitSell ATM before the general public.
Lakota Lustig and Sagar Kumar have invested a great deal of their own capital into the BitSell project, and they plan to develop their ATMs no matter how the Indiegogo campaign fares. However, they need contributor support to offer a full-featured device.
Any amount you can fund is greatly appreciated. That’s the great thing about crowdfunding… it’s in your hands. If you want to see our project come to life, you have the power to make it happen.
Though only in prototype stage, BitSell ATMs could prove to be a viable entry-level product for merchants looking to make a foray into the cryptocurrency industry without investing in a heavy-duty Bitcoin ATM with a price-tag to match.