There’s now a Bitcoin ATM at the Metreon, because of course there is

Bitcoin exchange machine

Recently a tipster informed me a Bitcoin ATM had appeared at the Metreon. Needless to say I had to check this out.

If you’re looking for the machine it’s near Cafe-X, the robot espresso machine, as well as a vending machine that somehow makes “gourmet” ramen. So in theory you could trade in your Bitcoin and use it to have a meal and coffee prepared entirely by robots!

Well okay, the above scenario isn’t entirely true since the Bitcoin ATM only converts Bitcoin to and from cash, which isn’t accepted by Cafe-X.

I thought I’d give the machine a spin but was immediately turned off by it. To identify yourself you need to insert a state ID or driver’s license, so this isn’t anonymous at all. What’s the point of buying a stolen yacht on the dark web if the transaction can be easily traced back to me?

But when I got home and looked at the ATM company’s website I found a second reason not to use it: transaction fees. To quote from the very last item on their help page:

We charge a 10% service fee for both buying and selling Bitcoin at our Kiosks.

In comparison online Bitcoin trading platforms only charge around 2%, so that’s a steep markup. Think about it: depositing $200 means you’re losing $20 — almost enough for a movie ticket in the Metreon’s IMAX theater.