Israel’s Israel’s first bitcoin ATM opened at the Bitcoin emBassy, an organization that advocates the use of the digital currency, on Sunday evening.
The bitcoin ATM, unlike the conventional machines, works by accepting cash into the machine and crediting the user’s virtual wallet with bitcoins.
“I am proud that the embassy has made the first bitcoin vending machine available in Israel.
This is part of our mission, to make bitcoins accessible to the general public,” said Ayal Segev of Bitcoin emBassy, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Bits of Gold, a company that deals with bitcoin services in Israel, will operate the machine. According to the Israeli Bitcoin Association, hundreds of Israeli businesses accept bitcoin payments.
Bitcoin, which was founded in 2009 by an unknown internet guru codenamed Satoshi Nakamoto, has been extremely volatile. It has surged from $15 at the beginning of 2013 to a high of over $1,150. The virtual currency was valued around $447 on Sunday.
It is possible to buy bitcoins through online platforms, though this is subject to payment of processing fees. However, it is difficult to determine whether an exchange is trustworthy. This fact came to the fore when Mt Gox, one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchange platforms, filed for bankruptcy last month after it lost hundreds of thousands of bitcoins valued at millions of dollars.
The collapse of Mt Gox prompted the Bank of Israel to issue a warning over dangers of buying virtual currencies, such as bitcoins. It also added that besides their volatile nature, such currencies aren’t recognized legal tender. Lack of financial oversight means such currencies can be used to finance illegal activities such as terrorism and money laundering.
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