First bitcoin ATM launched in Manhattan

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Lamassu ATM

Lamassu ATM

It may seem strange, but while bitcoin ATMs are popping up all over London, Canada, Southeast Asia, Africa and other far-flung locales, the city that arguably serves as the financial capital of the world, New York City, didn’t have one. Until today, that is. TechCrunch reports that the first bitcoin ATM in NYC has launched at Flat 128, a tiny, eclectic shop that predominantly deals in jewelry and women’s clothing. Located in Manhattan’s West Village, the store isn’t likely to see much foot traffic from Wall Street traders, but it may serve as a relatively safe venue to test both the demand for and legality of bitcoin ATMs in the city.

The Lamassu-made machine is operated by PYC Bitcoin, and appears to be seen as more of a “conversation piece” by shop owner Elizabeth DuBois than a money-making venture. She was convinced to launch the ATM by friend Matt Russell, who heads PYC Bitcoin’s marketing team. DuBois is getting into the spirit of the bitcoin revolution, however, offering a 10% discount to all BTC purchases.

Launching the ATM in the quirky, nonthreatening charm of Flat 128 may prove to be more strategic than profitable, however. The legality of bitcoin ATMs in New York City is an open question, although thus far state-level authorities have taken a wait-and-see perspective on similar machines in the state capital of Albany. Speaking with TechCrunch, Lamassu CEO Zach Harvey said “There are and will be regulatory questions regarding the use of the machine and Bitcoin in New York in general, but PYC Bitcoin is a licensed MSB and we have many compliance solutions to fit whatever needs arise, should they become necessary.”

Should the ATM launch go smoothly, with state and city authorities keeping their distance, New Yorkers can expect a flood of bitcoin ATMs to open the city in coming months.

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