Shoreditch is at least doing its part to join the Bitcoin economy.
On Wednesday, London’s first Bitcoin ATM, a Lamassu machine, launched at the Old Shoreditch Station cafe. The cafe is run by an arts collective called Jaguar Shoes, and they have been accepting Bitcoin payment themselves since last summer.
The machine’s owner and operator is a company called Future Coins. Its director, Joel Raziel, was surprised when he learned that none of Lamassu’s initial orders were heading to London.
“I was intrigued when I first saw a Bitcoin ATM on display at a conference and was shocked to find that none had appeared in London,” he said. “I contacted the manufacture, Lammasu, who told me that they had not received any orders from the UK. It was at this point that I started to cost up the project and move forwards.”
Fortunately for Future Coins, the UK’s tax authority, HMRC, announced it would make Bitcoin VAT-exempt earlier this month.
The machine limits transactions to 1,000 GBP per wallet per month, according to /r/Bitcoin subredditors, and it charges an 8% transaction fee.
As it is a Lamassu machine, users can only buy Bitcoin with fiat currency. It’s not possible to sell Bitcoin via the machine.
Lamassu has had a busy 2014 so far. The company launched the first Bitcoin machine last month in Albuquerque, and lead times on new orders are currently 10-14 weeks. At the end of December, the company announced it had sold its 100th machine.
It should be no surprise that East London, with its Silicon Roundabout, would be home to some of London’s first Bitcoin businesses.
Just last month, Azte.co opened a walk-in shop where customers could buy Bitcoin vouchers.
And in November, pop-up burger stall Burger Bear began taking Bitcoin payments from local tech-savvy customers, many of them on their lunch breaks.