California Governor Jerry Brown recently approved the use of Bitcoin as currency in the State and entrepreneurs are already ready to cash in. The first Bitcoin ATM's are located at stores in Hollywood and Venice in the Locali Conscious Convenience Stores, which are a cross between Whole Foods and 7-11 Stores. The choice of placement might be strategic since both areas are not only comprised of residents with higher income but are also very large tourist draws. When people visit the famous “Muscle Beach” (Venice Beach) or take a tour through Hollywood, these machines will be a an attraction in themselves that will help spread the word about cryptocurrencies.
The two ATM's, which cost $US 15,000 manufactured by Robocoin in Las Vegas, will allow users to exchange cryptocurrencies for cash at the two locations starting next week. Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelly commented on the new machines:
“We're creating accessibility to Bitcoin that has never been created before.”
The ATMs themselves have a complex security system that is safer than regular ATM's because it uses palm scanning technology. There are plenty of videos that will walk you through the process of using a Bitcoin ATM. They are certainly convenient and allow clients to exchange Bitcoins for several different types of fiat currency. Kelly said in an interview with the Los Angeles times that he has already received more than 100 inquiries from other potential Los Angeles area operators and plans to continue to expand into Southern California. The current two stores are located at 5825 Franklin Ave. in Hollywood and 701 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.
Interestingly enough, and contrary to most people's opinion, it is the northern half of the state that is politically liberal. The politics in the south are considerably more conservative, especially on economic issues; but California as a whole has always been a Mecca for new ideas and the perfect testing ground for new technology. Kelly believes that if a more 'bank-like” atmosphere is created, more users will flock. With this in mind along with tourism and media attention, the new locations could prove to be an excellent way of promoting and familiarizing average people with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Robocoin has had a very successful run since its beginnings in October of 2013. So far they have distributed over 30 ATMs world wide including locations in Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and six in the United States. While the amount of cash and currency vary for each machine, they are constructed to hold up to $US 500,000 in cash.