Seattle, Washington and Austin, Texas will soon have bitcoin-based ATMs in the U.S., bringing the digital currency in to the physical realm.
The kiosks -- similar to cash ATMs -- will be equipped with scanners that read official identification before transactions can be made. Suitable I.D. includes passports and driver licenses, and the machines will allow users to trade bitcoin for cash or deposit money to be converted into the digital currency.
The kiosks, manufactured by Las Vegas-based Robocoin, are also planned for Asia and Europe. One is currently in operation in Vancouver.
Bitcoin suffered a blow last week to its value after a bug in trading platform Mt.Gox meant digital currency was stolen and withdrawals were frozen. Although the problem is now being fixed, it's a reminder of how vulnerable the digital currency is to cyberattacks, and there is both a lack of regulation and stability associated with the alternative to traditional currency.
In August last year, German regulators accepted bitcoin as a "unit of currency," meaning that profit gained from it can be taxed -- although finding users may not be so easy. In addition, if corporations wish to trade in bitcoin, they now need permission from the German Federal Financial Supervision Authority.