Well, it's finally happened—Manhattan's first Bitcoin ATM will launch this evening. The Bitcoin Powers That Be have been teasing us with this for some time now, and they announced yesterday that one such digital currency machine will be unveiled at British designer jewelry store on Christopher Street at 5 p.m.
The ATM is constructed and run by Lamassu, and cost about $5,000 to make, according to Matt Russell of PYC, the ATM's operator. It's installed at vintage store Flat 128—which already accepts bitcoins as a form of currency, much like this Manhattan newsstand. At the moment, the machine will only allow customers with bitcoin wallets to deposit cash to purchase the currency, though in the future Lamassu's machines may permit you to use bitcoins to withdraw cash.
The regulation of Bitcoin (or lack thereof) has been the subject of some controversy in the city, and last month the New York Department of Financial Services proposed a "BitLicense" that would help regulate Bitcoin and businesses that use it. Those regulations are not yet binding; for now, Russell tells us, "We are fully compliant with current laws and look forward to complying with the BitLicense when it becomes solidified."
Note that you can also purchase bitcoins, if you must, using online services and exchanges, though according to Russell, the machine's allure is in its INSTANT BITCOIN GRATIFICATION. The Manhattan machine will also employ a small transaction fee, "much like using a Currency Exchange when you travel to another country." And though the West Village's ATM is the first to invade our shores, prepare yourself for more: "We want to make Manhattan 'Bitcoin Island'!" Russell said, noting that PYC and Lamassu are already scouting for more locations in the city.