ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CBS Las Vegas) – Online money is taking a step into the real world.

The first Bitcoin ATM in the United States has been installed,reports

The machine is at a cigar shop near the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

It’s makers, a company called Lamassu, prefers not to call it an ATM, since it does not actually dispense Bitcoin, but calls it a vending machine.

Users scan a QR code on their cellphone, which tells the ATM where to send the Bitcoin. Then they insert cash and the machine transfers the Bitcoin to their digital wallet.

Lamassu does not take any money from the transaction, it depends on sales of individual machines.

The owner of the Albuquerque machine, Eric Stromberg tells Mashable he thinks it’s the first step towards making Bitcoin acceptable by more people. “This is my current contribution to advancing Bitcoin into the mainstream.”

Stromberg anticipates more machines will be set up as the legal ins and outs of the cryptocurrency are settled.

An actual Bitcoin ATM machine may not be far behind.

Las Vegas based Robocoin says it will begin installing machines that can dispense Bitcoin in exchange for your cash.

But buyers should beware: Bitcoin value is not an easy thing to understand and its price has fluctuated wildly since January of last year.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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