The aim of developing Bitcoin ATMs that transfer cryptocurrency was to make the process of purchasing Bitcoin or altcoins easy, fast and accessible – all over the world. And while Bitcoin ATMs are certainly becoming more and more popular, the biggest hurdle to a ubiquitous presence of these machines is their hefty price tag that could cost merchants upwards of five thousand dollars. However, the price war could heat up with two high schoolers recently unveiling BitSell, the low-price Bitcoin ATM.
The attempt to create a low-cost Bitcoin ATM was already made by Skyhook, with the release of its US$999 Bitcoin ATM. But Lakota Lustig and Sagar Kumar, two high school students with passion for Bitcoin and for coding believe they can lower the costs of current Bitcoin ATMs to US$150 apiece.
Purchasing Bitcoin or altcoins through an online exchange can be time-consuming and frustrating – verification time, often lasting 3-4 days makes it impossible to use the money in the store right away.
Furthermore, according to Kumar, the existing methods of purchasing cryptocurrency are making it an impractical business investment for entrepreneurs willing to develop Bitcoin ATMs:
“Current methods of online currency transfer are inefficient. Lakota and I wanted a way to make it faster and user friendly. We looked at current methods of currency transfer, and the ATM was an obvious and simple solution to our problem. A traditional ATM is quick and easy. That’s what we want for online currencies.”
The two co-founders of BitSell launched the campaign on Indiegogo to develop a product that supports multiple currencies - Bitcoin and altcoins - and ATM purchasers will be able to add any other altcoins they want. The benefits received by Indiegogo campaign supporters will be, among others, initial information about which altcoins are accepted at launch of the ATM, advanced access to the API for developing add-ons for the release. The founders claim that after the launch, the source code will be published on GitHub.
A demonstration of how the prototype ATM software will function can be viewed in BitSell’s demo video. The price is the main selling point and the simplicity of the design is one of the key factors in lowering the price. The device will be covered in a plastic case, and will be designed to fit indoors on a store counter-top, unlike the other Bitcoin ATMs, which are designed for outdoor use that requires additional protective features and materials.
For the time being, the system interacts with NFC-enabled phones, but the developers are working on an alternate option for phones without NFC-support. Both credit cards and mobile phone payments will be accepted by the ATM.
For the supporters of the project, Lustig and Kumar prepared different package options on BitSell’s Indiegogo campaign page. Undeniably, the most appealing contributor package is the US$100 option, with which backers can acquire a BitSell ATM before the launch.
And to bring the full-featured device into reality, the developers are counting on crowd support:
“Any amount you can fund is greatly appreciated. That’s the great thing about crowdfunding… it’s in your hands. If you want to see our project come to life, you have the power to make it happen.”
Lakota Lustig and Sagar Kumar plan to develop their ATMs regardless of the crowdfunding campaign results, however, as they have invested a great amount of their own capital into the BitSell project.