Whether or not there’s a place for banking as we know it in the world of cryptocurency is a hotly debated question among Bitcoin enthusiasts and stakeholders. “Unbank yourself,” and “Time for plan ฿,” are many of the slogans thrown about the Bitcoin world, symptoms of the sub-cultures ingrained abrasiveness to traditional banking. There is another group within Bitcoin, however, that argues loudly for the idea that for there be massive and mainstream adoption, there needs to be better tools from organizations with a vested interest in maintaining them to make the sometimes impenetrable world of cryptocurrency more accessible to the general public.
One of these essential services needed to make Bitcoin and other cryptos more widely accessible and useful is the free exchange of value between traditional fiats and cryptocurrencies. There are currently three companies that make Bitcoin ATMs: Genesis1, Lamassu, and Robocoin, which incidentally was the first one to bring these machines to the public.
Robocoin’s first Bitcoin ATM debuted in Canada last October and was soon followed by more machines in other countries. But that wasn’t enough for Robocoin, which last week launched its first Bitcoin ATM in Seattle, at the Spitfire Grill in Belltown, where users can buy Bitcoins or exchange it for real money.
The machine operates seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m and customers can make $3,000 worth of Bitcoin exchanges per day.
Robocoin is at the forefront of making Bitcoin a household name with its ATMs, but the company is not stopping there. It wants Bitcoin to be available for everyone and to accomplish this, Robocoin aims to launch the first Bitcoin bank this summer.
Robocoin aims to disrupt the remittance industry by launching the Robocoin Bank this summer, as part of a greater plan to solidify its lead in the Bitcoin remittance space (a multi-billion dollar market worldwide).The company will transform its existing Bitcoin ATMs to ‘Robocoin Bank local branches’, which will be integrated with the company’s online banking services.
The kiosks will allow Bitcoin users to manage their digital currency. People will be able to view their account, send Bitcoins to wherever there is a Robocoin ATM, send Bitcoins to phone numbers instead of Bitcoin addresses, while receivers will have the option to store the Bitcoin or trade it for cash, directly from the ATM.
Robocoin promises that these kiosks will be safe and secure as it employs three levels of authentication to prevent fraud or theft.
“The Robocoin Bank has been a vision since day [one],” said a company spokesperson in an interview. “We hope to alleviate Bitcoin’s major pain points and barriers to adoption.
“The goal has always been to bring Bitcoin to everyone and the Robocoin Bank is a leap in that direction.”
But do we need a Bitcoin bank?
It’s going to be difficult to convince a lot of the early adopters in the Bitcoin community that centralization of banking services are a necessary step towards mainstream adoption, but it’s hard to argue that services like Coinbase and Robocoin haven’t moved the needle towards making Bitcoin easier to understand for the general public.
“The Bitcoin community is going to see mass adoption because of this,” Jordan Kelley, Robocoin’s CEO said. “We’re just solving problems for everyone in the game—for Bitcoin newbies, it makes it easier, and for bitcoin veterans, it makes it more useful.”
Why not? Centralizing cryptocurrency services doesn’t break the decentralization of the rest of the Bitcoin network, and may lead more individuals into becoming advanced users as their knowledge progresses.
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