Bitcoin startups pan for gold in cryptocurrency economy

Insert a dollar, get some microbitcoins with Lamassu’s Bitcoin Machine
Sean Gallagher

In a sideshow within a marketing sideshow here at CES—the “Bitcoin pavilion” at an event called the Startup Debut—a small collection of Bitcoin-related startups showed off various attempts to capitalize (and monetize) on the interest in the crypto-currency.

One of those companies is Lamassu, the creators of a device that works the opposite way—it lets people turn hard currency into bitcoins, sent directly to their chosen address. The Bitcoin Machine, the creation of brothers and co-founders Josh and Zach Harvey, is an automated bitcoin “reverse-ATM.” Simply scan the QR code for your Bitcoin digital wallet, insert bills into the machine, and it will transfer the matching value (at current market rates) of bitcoins to you (minus a small transaction commission).

The machine runs an embedded Linux OS on an ARM processor, but the actual transactions take place on Lamassu’s servers. So far, over 130 have been sold worldwide, and 43 have been deployed everywhere from Canada to Kyrgyzstan.

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