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The ATMs of Vancouver

Cryptocurrency had a lot of firsts in Vancouver, but nothing brought more media attention than the world’s first Bitcoin ATM. Installed by the Bitcoiniacs (now CoinTrader) in partnership with Robocoin, it found its home in a Waves Coffee House. Originally signed onto Bitcoin by the Bitcoin Co-op, CoinTrader soon moved in and made it their Bitcoin headquarters, which it still is, today!

Although traffic has dwindled since the famous launch event, Waves continues to be one of Vancouver’s Bitcoin hot-spots. It held one of CoinFest’s most popular events–the mining and hardware demonstration–where they also unveiled the world’s first Dogecoin ATM. The jury is out on whether they’ll ever bring another Bitcoin ATM to Vancouver, but if they do, you’ll probably see it on the news.

The competition is fierce, however! Before most cities could get their own Bitcoin ATM, Vancouver quickly had its second, a Lamassu model. A new exchange called QuadrigaCX stepped up to the plate in full gear, ordering over 100 of the ATMs for resale. Although they can only do 1-way Bitcoin transactions, their cheaper price and portability made them a popular choice, and they have popped up all over the city: A steamed burrito restaurant called Steamrollers, a cafe called Lost and Found, a permanent one at their office building, and more around the country.

Still not content, the directors of QuadrigaCX then acquired dozens of Skyhook-model Bitcoin ATMs, which have proven even cheaper and more portable, although slower to use. None have yet been permanently placed–which almost makes sense for such a compact machine–but this is soon to change, given the ATM Partnership Program they’ve announced. Any physical venue accepting Bitcoin can get one of their QuadrigaCX-brand ATMs, earning a share of the revenue and a new source of customers. In this manner, they hope to spread Bitcoin adoption even further.

Others have followed in their foot steps, and acquired 1-way ATMs of their own. The Co-op launched a traveling ATM project, although that appears to be on hold for the time being. Meanwhile, Newnote Financial has brought a Lamassu ATM to BCIT campus, home of the second Bitcoin student club on Vancouver’s cryptocurrency scene. They are one of British Columbia’s most prominent technical schools, home to many technophiles. Newnote Financial has 4 more Lamassu ATMs on the way, but mum’s the word on their planned locations (if any).

Given the Bitcoin-friendly environment Vancouver has become, ATMs are now almost mainstream as a business idea. As such, new operators are arriving from outside Vancouver’s established cryptocurrency scene, and it’s sometimes hard to predict where. Vancouver’s 2nd Robocoin ATM arrived with little warning to the community, in direct competition with CoinTrader. Although the restaurant holding it is open 24/7, it does not yet accept Bitcoin, and hasn’t garnered the same level of publicity. The operators, claim, however, to have more plans underway.

As the battle of the ATMs rages on, ATM fees continue to drop. Many future ATM operators are likely holding their cards close, to keep their plans hidden from competitors. Rumors abound about more announcements from QuadrigaCX, Logicoins, CAVirtEx and others, but nobody knows what or when. It’s safe to say, though, that Bitcoin ATMs will soon be ubiquitous in Vancouver city, which is fitting for one of the world’s premier cryptocurrency hubs. If that seems like a bold claim, you’re welcome to come see for yourself.




Andrew is one of the primary organizers of the Vancouver Bitcoin Meet Up, and the Director of Public Relations for the Bitcoin Cooperative. He spearheaded merchant adoption in Vancouver, having signed up the world’s first Indian restaurant, the Waves that houses the world’s first ATM, Vancouver’s first nightclub, and more! He is also the founder and lead coordinator of CoinFest, the first “decentralized” decentralized currency convention.

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  • DigiMoneyPromo

    Great article and great news. The downtown Waves location at Smithe and Howe, Cointrader’s, now charges only 1% for buying and selling using their Bitcoin ATM. @digimoneypromo on twitter

  • coinATMRadar

    >they also unveiled the world’s first Dogecoin ATM

    Many Genesis1 ATMs are Dogecoin ATMs as well for quite a long time already, so definitely not the first one

    • Andrew Wagner

      Sorry, I thought it to be true and concluded it was when CoinDesk backed that up. Good to note.

  • Martijn Wismeijer

    Why is it that an article about Bitcoin ATM units in Vancouver Canada is using a picture of a ATM unit located at the Hofje van Wijs in Amsterdam, The Netherlands? Strange.