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First bitcoin ATMs coming to Los Angeles

Bitcoin
First bitcoin ATMs in L.A. will be in Hollywood, Venice
First L.A. bitcoin ATMs will be housed in convenience store that's a cross between '7-Eleven and Whole Foods'

Bitcoin owners in Los Angeles will be able to exchange their virtual currency for cash at two bitcoin-to-cash ATMs set to open next week.

The ATMs will be managed by Santa Monica bitcoin payment processor ExpressCoin, and will be housed in two Locali Conscious Convenience stores in Hollywood and Venice, Locali owner Melissa Rosen said.

The $15,000 ATMs were built by Las Vegas manufacturer Robocoin.

Through a complex security system involving palm scanning technology, Robocoin ATMs allow users to buy or sell their bitcoins in exchange for U.S. dollars or other types of paper currency, similar to a currency exchange. On Friday, a bitcoin was worth $580.

Rosen said she wasn’t expecting an increase in customers or increased sales due to the newly installed ATMs.

Locali stores currently don’t accept bitcoin as payment due to issues with the existing point-of-sale system. But Rosen, who personally doesn't use bitcoin, said the stores are looking for a work-around to accept the virtual currency. Rosen described Locali stores as a cross between 7-Eleven and Whole Foods.

The ATMs will be located at the Locali stores on 5825 Franklin Ave. in Hollywood and 701 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.

In an interview with The Times, Robocoin chief executive Jordan Kelly said his company has received around 100 inquires from potential Los Angeles operators, and is planning to continue expanding across Southern California. He said the company was trying to create more traditional bank-like features to make using bitcoin more comfortable for the general public.

“Bitcoin is still a little scarcy for consumers,” he said. “We try and make it as simple as possible, and with this platform we do that.”

Since launching its first machine in October 2013 in Vancouver, Robocoin has sold ATMs to operators in Hong Kong and Tel Aviv and operates in 13 countries, with six operational machines in the U.S. The machines can hold up to $500,000 in cash.

For more bitcoin and tech news, follow @RileySnyder on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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