CoinOutlet, Inc. announced they have acquired the ATM network of LibertyTeller. LibertyTeller is the same company that, according to Cointelegraph and co-founder Chris Yim, won the controversial race to install the first Bitcoin Teller Machine (BTM) in the US one year ago on February 19, 2014.
They also announced that they will hook the four acquired Lamassu machines to their existing platform through a new backend ecosystem that allows any existing BTM or traditional ATM to join their CoinOutlet network, regardless of the hardware platform of the machine. Eric Grill, CoinOutlet’s CEO, explains:
“Integrating other hardware solutions into our backend network is part of our expansion strategy, as it opens the door for more acquisitions and further scaling of the CoinOutlet network.”
CoinOutlet previously owned four BTMs around the US—one each in Utah, North Dakota, Maryland, and Pennsylvania—plus one in Amsterdam. According to the press release, they will acquire LibertyTeller’s BTMs, keep them at their present locations, and rebrand them under their own name.
Grill continues, “We built our existing ATMS from the ground up, and have a number of options available because we did this. These kiosks are not just bitcoin ATM's. They will have other features, and the hardware allows us to control the user experience.”
CoinOutlet formally launched in August 2014. In September, they partnered with Locant Services, which holds the rights to 100,000 prime US ATM locations. Adella Toulon-Foerster, CoinOutlet’s vice president of special projects, says,
“We are on track for a major rollout this year.”
The company more recently put a BTM at Overstock headquarters in Salt Lake City, and expanded to Europe by installing a machine at BitPay headquarters in Amsterdam. They were the first BTM company to incorporate Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) features to meet regulation requirements.
The new acquired machines were installed by LibertyTeller’s two co-founders in several strategic high-traffic areas around Boston. The one that holds the (debated) title of “first in the US” was installed at Boston’s South Station transportation terminal. The second one sits at MIT, a Bitcoin-active tech school that gave undergraduate students almost US$100 in digital currency last fall. The others are located near Harvard and in Cambridge.
Within their first year of business, LibertyTeller scaled from these four original locations, to a full 2,500 by adopting a new business model. In December 2014, the company rebranded as LibertyX and chose to shift away from hardware-based BTMs. They became a “financial services company” that allows people to purchase Bitcoins through cashiers at over 2,500 retail locations. At the time, Yim explained:
"After our [BTM] installations at MIT and Harvard, we were inundated with requests to place LibertyX bitcoin ATMs across the country. We spent the last several months building a highly scalable bitcoin purchasing solution to address these previously underserved markets. We are excited to launch [a] new retail store channel that removes access as a major remaining barrier of bitcoin adoption."
Yim tells Cointelegraph that LibertyX is currently focused on expanding to more stores and creating a soon-to-be-released app. They are hiring and growing their team, with the goal that buying Bitcoin will become “as convenient and easy as buying a stick of gum.”
“The fact we have achieved this growth in the past year without spending on marketing speaks to the unmet need and untapped potential of digital currencies. Once people are easily able to purchase and use digital currencies, all the exciting blockchain 2.0 applications can come to fruition. We expect to be a major part of that.”
The move from expensive and high-maintenance hardware BTMs to more adaptable software ATM applications may be a growing trend. Robocoin recently announced its move away from the hardware BTM market. The company is relaunching with a new software development kit (SDK) that will allow any traditional ATM to function as a BTM.
Grill says that CoinOutlet, however, has “always built our system this way,” with an SDK. He says this is what enables them to take machines from other manufacturers and integrate KYC and AML controls, and allows them to take advantage of opportunities such as the BTMs at MIT and Harvard. Finally, he announced, “We will be deploying a Mazacoin machine shortly within the Lakota nation.”
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