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Bitcoin The Almighty Buck Linux

World's First Bitcoin ATM 437

bill_mcgonigle writes "I just bought bitcoins from the World's first Bitcoin ATM at Liberty Forum. I created an account using an Android Bitcoin client and held up its QR code to the Raspberry Pi-based device's optical scanner. After I fed in a $20 Federal Reserve Note, I got back a confirmation QR code on its display, which I then scanned and checked the third-party confirmation URL. The machine can function on any wireless network and will soon be available for purchase by merchants, who can make a commission on customers' Bitcoin purchases."
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World's First Bitcoin ATM

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  • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:11PM (#42998967)

    Actually the bitcoin is worth more because it's very difficult to expand the bitcoin supply while expanding the currency supply is trivial.

  • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:15PM (#42998999)

    Speaking of ignorance... the only reason ANY currency is worth ANYTHING is that people are willing to exchange it for something else.

    Perhaps you could start by learning to spell "financial"?

  • by egcagrac0 ( 1410377 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:17PM (#42999017)

    It will be a far more useful offering when I can both give it currency to be credited bitcoins, and transfer bitcoins to it to receive currency.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:18PM (#42999027)
    Which part of "primarily" is giving you problems there, sparky?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:30PM (#42999103)

    So foreign exchange trading is illegal?

    How about stock market? Commodity trading?

  • by OneAhead ( 1495535 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @09:54PM (#42999253)

    While BTC as currency is volatile, other currencies suffrer from this too as pretty much every currency is not backed by anything (except US army going down on your ass etc).

    At the risk of sounding cynical, the US army going down on your ass definitely classifies as "something" to me...

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:11PM (#42999365)
    Calling it a currency is misleading. To be a currency, something has to be generally accepted as payment for goods, services and debts, at least within some geographic area. Bitcoin is a digital commodity that mostly can't be used to buy or sell anything without first finding a buyer to turn it back into money.
  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:16PM (#42999393)
    Exactly what they need, a relatively cumbersome way of getting paid compared to all the other methods they're used to using, and being paid with something that may fluctuate wildly in relation to the money they use to pay their rent and buy their merchandise?
  • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ahabswhale ( 1189519 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:19PM (#42999437)

    Translation: you're super pissed that the dollar is holding its value regardless of the US debt.

    Want a tissue?

    p.s. You have no idea how currency works.

  • by mathimus1863 ( 1120437 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:31PM (#42999499)
    Yes, there's a lot of people who are in Bitcoin because of become-a-billionaire-overnight fantasies. But you remove all that and you're left with a really fascinating system that should appeal to everyone on Slashdot. It's a mix of cryptography, freedom of speech, computing, networking, finance, economics, and even politics -- most of us here dig that stuff.

    Get over the hype and take Bitcoin for what it really is: a fascinating experiment that has, so far, withstood the amazing barrage of publicity, hacking attempts, legal uncertainties, and remains valuable for reasons completely contrary to everyone that says it's worthless. It may become worthless one day, but consider the possibility that Bitcoin is disproving all your wildly oversimplified assumptions about what makes something valuable. It is completely different, and there's plenty of reasons to believe that it could succeed as much as it could fail.

    Why does gold have value? Nothing is backing gold. Yet it has value, mainly because of its properties: scarcity, fungibility, density, beauty, etc. Bitcoin is really quite similar but with some different properties. Ease of transfer over the internet, fungibility, scarcity, storage efficiency, near-anonymity and built-in escrow.

    I don't think it's any more ludicrous for Bitcoin to have value than it is for gold to have value. And in the end, when I want to sell WoW weapons, buy webserver space, or play a few games of poker online, why would I use gold, credit card or paypal, which all require me to remember log-in creditials, give away information and/or pay a bunch of third party fees. There's plenty of value in being able to pay people across the world, instantaneously, without sacrificing your privacy, and without paying any fees. Why is that not valuable? Seriously... quit focusing on the get-rich-quick kids, and start appreciating Bitcoin for it's unique properties and philosophy.
  • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:46PM (#42999589) Homepage

    Ok, so we are drowning. And what do all land walking mammals do in their final moments before they drown? They go flailing about expending lots of energy for that last little gasp of oxygen. But, they do drown.

    Once we reach hyperinflation, America effectively drowns shortly thereafter.

  • No it's not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sussurros ( 2457406 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:59PM (#42999637)
    Counterfeiting money is really hard, even with paper notes such as you use there. Southworth is well known though as *the* paper to print resumés on because the paper feels like money and people like it without even knowing why. Its success in getting jobs has even been measured in a psychological test as I recall.

    This is quite common knowledge and can be found in 2 seconds by searching for "paper feels like money". You Sir, need to relax a little and appreciate the humour. No knowledge has been passed on that will result in any conterfeit notes being put into circulation that wouldn't have anyway. Put a bit RX into your TX.
  • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:59PM (#42999651) Journal

    every product is as valuable as the energy used to craft it

    Maybe in the world where humans are perfectly rational and communism works.
    In this world however, cognitive biases like endowment effect, [] hyperbolic discounting, [] loss aversion [] and money illusion [] don't allow such simplistic definition of value.

    As such, grafting a human-invented concept like economy onto basic laws that run the universe is about as arrogant and fallacious as assuming that the entire universe was made just so the humans would have a place to stay - cause they are made in the image of the creator of the said universe.
    And he was a white man.
    Who died on a cross.
    For our sins.
    Cause a woman eat an apple.
    A snake made her do that.
    Long story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:06PM (#42999673)

    Yes, but I'm guaranteed to be able to pay my taxes, rent, buy food etc., with USD, but with BTC, there's no guarantee that I'll be able to buy anything with it. And that's a very serious problem, I give somebody else my money and I get something that won't make me money, other than by arbitrage, and it isn't guaranteed to permit me to buy anything either.

    That's taking an awful lot of risk with absolutely no reward whatsoever. I guess P. T. Barnum was right about suckers.

  • by udoschuermann ( 158146 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:10PM (#42999691) Homepage

    No, the value of any currency (exchange medium, fiat or otherwise) is derived from the trust that currency-exchanging users place in it. This trust may be derived from trust in the issuer (government), but that is no requirement. The value of BTC is derived from a combination of its limited supply and the usefulness of anonymous exchange. Governments need not be involved until you want to convert BTC to a tangible currency (such as US$), but that is not a required feature for those who deal only in BTC. So long as BTC is difficult to come by and those who value it are willing to exchange it solely based on perceived (or real-world) value, then BTC will thrive, and with increasing scarcity, rise in value.

  • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:13PM (#42999703)
    How is gold costly to store? Its no more costly than paper money.

    There's no reason why gold has to be different than cash in how you store it. Assuming you don't have fractional-reserve banking (which is by definition fraudulent) you could have a gold-based debit card, gold-based ATMs, heck, you could even have gold-based paper money (like the US had in the form of gold certificates).
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:17PM (#42999719)

    This is a zero sum game. In order for you to win money, other people have to lose money. And because there's nothing being produced, you're guaranteed that the early adopters will wind up profiting even as the late comers end up footing the entire bill.

    And hell yes you're a fool. Even fools get lucky, but in total, the people getting lucky will be vastly outnumbered by the people who get screwed because of the way in which the BTC are created. And the early fools will reap more rewards individually than the later fools will pay out individually.

    Also, if you've bothered to read up at all, and I mean at all, on the Ponzi scheme, this is exactly what it looks like. The early adopters crow about how it's money for nothing, when they're being paid by the people getting in later. At some point the money runs low and it falls apart. We haven't yet hit the point where it falls apart, but when the deflationary spiral hits the system, those BTC that people have will be effectively worthless as there's no upside to buying them, assuming you even can buy them. And general instability as small purchases cause huge changes in value because of low trading volume.

    It's also likely to be illegal as I doubt very much that the SEC is being permitted to oversee all of this, nor the equivalents in other nations.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:21PM (#42999727)
    Deflation is a silly thing to be worried about.

    How many hyper-deflations have occurred? 0.
    How many hyper-inflationary events have occurred? A lot. (Zimbabwe, Germany, Hungary, Former Soviet Republics, etc.)

    The idea of this gigantic "deflationary spiral" is also a myth []

    Does a good job of explaining it.
  • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kqs ( 1038910 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @11:32PM (#42999785)

    (It's gotta be annoying that year after year the constant prediction of US hyperinflation stubbornly refuses to come true. But look on the bright side: if time is infinite, you'll be right eventually.)

    While it's tempting to recast the economy (something we cannot predict well) as energy (which we understand well these days), I'm dubious that the predictive abilities will be recast as well.

  • by HeadOffice ( 912211 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:06AM (#43000779)

    Time will tell... []

  • by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:44AM (#43001081)
    Define "produced". Bitcoin aims to offer a better way to transfer wealth than we had today. To a lot of people, that is "of value". As for the end of new minting - Your optimism is commendable, but seeing as that won't happen this century, you're not likely to be alive to see it. In any case, the currency has been deflating as it is - The market value has been rising faster than the supply. I'm not seeing a spiral.
  • by DriedClexler ( 814907 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:00AM (#43001117)

    What you've described applied to every business venture of earth, no matter what the legitimacy of the product or business model. Yes, early adopters of innovative ventures get the biggest shares in that ventures, which become the most valuable when the general public appreciates it.

    The founders and early investors at Facebook, Google, Dell, Apple, Microsoft, etc etc etc all own the most of those respective and thus most of their capitalized values. Were they scams too? No, because at bottom, they all produced something useful.

    You don't see the use in Bitcoin? Great, but that's a different argument than saying it's structured as a Ponzi scheme.

  • by sFurbo ( 1361249 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:38AM (#43001195)
    It seems bitcoins would be the easiest (and cheapest) way to transfer money to and from places without much financial infrastructure. That makes it a non-zero sum game. This also means that it might not (completely) collapse, as there is real utility in it.
  • by sFurbo ( 1361249 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:57AM (#43001241)
    Because some of your customers prefer to pay in them, and will go to your competition if you don't accept them?

    Though that ultimately comes down to "in what ways are they better for anyone than traditional money". I guess I can see four answers to that: (illusion of) anonymity (see: Silk Road), speed of transfer over long distances (physical money beat this, but can't be used over the internet. Banks can take a long time to transfer money, if you count the time they can take them back), lack of censorship (Blocking payments to e.g. Wikileaks would have been much harder with bitcoins than with VISA/Mastercard), and moving money to and from places with little financial infrastructure (they are easier to use than the cell phone credits I hear are used to move money around certain African countries).

    Whether this will make up for the downsides of Bitcoin depends on how big these downsides will be in the future, and how the well the banks will respond to the competition.
  • Re:Unreal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @08:03AM (#43001615) Homepage Journal

    AFAICT Bitcoin IS legal tender in France. Most of us don't live in the USA.

    YCT very little, then. Try paying a debt in France with Bitcoins and call the police if they refuse to accept it.

    France has laws stating what's legal tender - since 2003, only Euros - and strict laws punishing those who refuse legal tender as payment for debt.

    What has happened in France is that Paymium is allowed to run an exchange in partnership with Credit Mutuel (a real bank). They can do so whether they exchange bitcoins or dollars or zorkmids - they have to abide by regulations, and track all transactions in the Euro value, and for large transactions report them. This is like any other exchange, and does not make what they trade the legal tender (Euros) against legal tender, whether it's Yen, Bitcoins, Silver, future coffee crops or toenail clippings. Nor does it make it either legal or illegal currency (which is different from legal tender) - the authorization doesn't say anything about Bitcoin's legality as a currency, only the regulation of an exchange.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly