29 Jan '14, 11am
The Bitcoin ATM Has a Dirty Secret: It Needs a Chaperone
Jackson Warren (left) and Mitchell Demeter cast their eyes over Robocoin, the world’s first bitcoin ATM. Photo: David Ryder/WIRED VANCOUVER — When Mitchell Demeter and Jackson Warren opened the world’s first bitcoin ATM at a coffee shop in Vancouver, it was an instant success. People actually lined up to use the machine, which processed about $1 million in digital currency transactions over its first month. But one day in November, a few weeks after launching the ATM, Demeter noticed something peculiar as he perused the machine’s transaction data at his office, across town from the coffee shop. At one point, the machine had voided 15 transactions in a row, for no obvious reason. So he drove down to the cafe, and as he walked through the front door, he immediately saw the problem. A man was sitting next to the machine, at one of the cafe’s wooden tables, and he was holding ...