Bitcoin ATMs

The Free State Project held its annual Liberty Forum this weekend, which means that all sorts of subversive ideas were unveiled and shared. One of the ideas that I found very interesting was an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that turns cash into Bitcoins:

Zach Harvey has an ambitious plan to accelerate adoption of the Internet’s favorite alternative currency: installing in thousands of bars, restaurants, and grocery stores ATMs that will let you buy Bitcoins anonymously.

It’s the opposite of a traditional automated teller that dispenses currency. Instead, these Bitcoin ATMs will accept dollar bills — using the same validation mechanism as vending machines — and instantly convert the amount to Bitcoins and deposit the result in your account.

I mentioned Bitcoin as a tool to fight the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) since it allows individuals to make anonymous transactions and thus leave no trail for state agents to trace back to physical individuals. Avoiding having your financial information fall into government hands is very useful. If the state is unable to access your financial information they don’t know what to charge you for taxes and can’t bring criminal charges against you for buying goods it has labeled verboten. The one missing key in the Bitcoin puzzle is turning Federal Reserve notes into Bitcoins anonymously, which is what this ATM could make easier. At Bitcoin continues to gain traction it will be interesting to see what else develops around it.