A Cincinnati engineer has developed aprototype for a retail fuel dispenserthat accepts payments in bitcoins.
Andy Schroder, a mechanical engineer basedin Fort Mitchell, designed the Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II, equipped with ascreen for users to complete their payments. It does not accept cash or creditcards.
The Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II is a refinedversion of Schroder’s Original Bitcoin Fuel Dispenser. The original, which wasunveiled in August 2013, is an impressive device that more or less looked likea loud science experiment hooked onto Schroder’s truck and included mobileset-up, wireless communication between the components in the system, a cellularinternet connection, and a web-based userface.
The refined version looks like a typicalgas dispenser. It was unveiled last week and focuses more on durability,weather resistance, compact design, ease of use, and accuracy. The devicerequires a standard 15 amp circuit, and thus could technically be plugged intoany normal wall outlet.
The model only allows prepayment methodsfor now, but any unused bitcoins will be returned to the user. In the long run,Schroder hopes he can integrate Near-Field Communication (NFC) in future modelsso users can pay by simply placing their phone against the dispenser. Alongwith bitcoin, he hopes to incorporate credit card and cash payments in thefuture.
In his first demonstration video, Schroderhighlighted the benefits his dispenser thus:
“Ithink this type of device presents a unique opportunity to map the global, geo-spacialand temporal purchasing power of Bitcoin relative to various commodities at ahigh fidelity.”
Schroder is currently shopping the dispenser around to fuel stations that may wantto install them. He believes that Bitcoin is less susceptible to fraud thancredit cards and that bitcoins are impossible to duplicate like a credit card.
With Bitcoin’s mainstream image still problematic, Schroder might have a longroad ahead of him before his dispensers take off – but he is ultimatelyoptimistic.
You can watch the Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II demonstration video here.