Israel's first Bitcoin ATM Israel's first Bitcoin ATM A man uses Israel's first bitcoin ATM machine at the Town-House TLV hotel in Tel Aviv. Bitcoin is a form of cryptography-based e-money that can be stored either virtually or on a user's hard drive, offering a largely anonymous payment system. (Photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP / Getty Images)

Bitcoin now truly global with an estimated 200 ATMs worldwide

Tel Aviv hotel is latest spot where people can purchase and exchange the digital currency that is gaining global acceptance.

Cities all around the world – from Melbourne to Austin to Sao Paulo – have jumped onto the bitcoin bandwagon, opening up ATM machines to help people use the new currency. The latest place to join in? Tel Aviv.

“The proliferation of these easy gateways between the legacy financial system and the new decentralized digital economy will be very important in increasing the general public’s familiarity with bitcoin,” Noah Berger, CEO of a start-up responsible for introducing the first bitcoin teller machine in Aurora, Colo., told From the Grapevine. “More broad use will follow once people are more familiar with this new kind of money.”

The automated teller – one of an estimated 200 worldwide – was installed earlier this summer at a chic Tel Aviv hotel by online crypto-currency consulting company Bitbox. Bitbox CEO Nimrod Gruber told digital currency news site CoinDesk that the new development will “allow any person with no previous knowledge of bitcoin and how it works to easily buy and sell bitcoin 24/7, bypassing the bureaucracy of the banks.”

It's been about five years since an anonymous entrepreneur known as Satoshi Nakamoto created the bitcoin currency, but the nature of bitcoins remain mysterious to many people. More businesses are starting to accept them, however, and today anonymous transactions can be made for services ranging from pizza to space travel.

The bitcoin ATMs, which work like vending machines, allow users to buy bitcoins directly, bypassing a process that traditionally requires a bank transfer or a face-to-face purchase or exchange.

Sign in Hong Kong retail shop reads "Bitcoins Accepted Here"As the sign in a retail shop in Hong Kong would suggest, bitcoins are more commonly accepted by businesses around the globe each day.  (Photo: Phillipe Lopez/Getty Images)

Berger explained that bitcoin ATMs make the exchange both easier and safer, since it cuts out the middleman. “Our first kiosk in Colorado gives easy, safe and fast access to bitcoin without third party risk,” he said. “We buy and sell bitcoin directly with customers, peer-to-peer, without taking custody of customer funds.”

Berger said the introduction of a bitcoin teller in Israel shows the movement is truly global. “It means the conversation is starting,” he said. “It means that people who want choice … will have that opportunity more than ever. The more you think about bitcoin, the more you’re forced to consider the nature of money itself."

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