A Cincinnati engineer has developed a
prototype for a retail fuel dispenser
that accepts payments in bitcoins.
Andy Schroder, a mechanical engineer based in Fort Mitchell, designed the Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II, equipped with a screen for users to complete their payments. It does not accept cash or credit cards.
The Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II is a refined version of Schroder’s Original Bitcoin Fuel Dispenser. The original, which was unveiled in August 2013, is an impressive device that more or less looked like a loud science experiment hooked onto Schroder’s truck and included mobile set-up, wireless communication between the components in the system, a cellular internet connection, and a web-based userface.
The refined version looks like a typical gas dispenser. It was unveiled last week and focuses more on durability, weather resistance, compact design, ease of use, and accuracy. The device requires a standard 15 amp circuit, and thus could technically be plugged into any normal wall outlet.
The model only allows prepayment methods for 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 models so users can pay by simply placing their phone against the dispenser. Along with bitcoin, he hopes to incorporate credit card and cash payments in the future.
In his first demonstration video, Schroder
highlighted the benefits his dispenser thus:
“I think this type of device presents a unique opportunity to map the global, geo-spacial and temporal purchasing power of Bitcoin relative to various commodities at a high fidelity.”
Schroder is currently shopping the dispenser around to fuel stations that may want to install them. He believes that Bitcoin is less susceptible to fraud than credit cards and that bitcoins are impossible to duplicate like a credit card.
With Bitcoin’s mainstream image still problematic, Schroder might have a long road ahead of him before his dispensers take off – but he is ultimately optimistic.
You can watch the Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II demonstration video here.