‘Virtual Bitcoin ATM’ Apps Released by CoinSafe

US-based company CoinSafe says its new mobile and desktop apps can turn any local business into a ‘bitcoin ATM’, or face-to-face bitcoin exchange. The CoinSafe apps are free to use and allow businesses to trade bitcoins directly with walk-in customers.

After registering their business name for inclusion in CoinSafe’s directory, owners then link the app to a Blockchain, Coinbase or Bitstamp account and can start trading bitcoins face-to-face.

CoinSafe says the software is “designed to be used by someone who has no idea what bitcoin is”, and that a staff member merely needs to confirm that funds have been received before releasing the payout amount in either bitcoin or cash.

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CoinSafe co-founder and CEO Michael Flaxman said the software provided business owners with a less risky, more flexible option for getting bitcoin into their customers’ hands without having to purchase or maintain ATM hardware. He further said that CoinSafe would provide a map on its website showing the locations of businesses who had signed up to the service.

The company will not have access to any user’s private keys and will encrypt all customer information in transit to its services, its website says. It also recommends that businesses keep larger amounts of bitcoin in cold storage. Businesses paying out cash for bitcoins only do not have to give API access to CoinSafe at all, so long as they provide a bitcoin address by which the transaction can be confirmed. The service uses standard transaction fees of approximately 0.0001 BTC (about 6 US cents).

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CoinSafe’s offering is similar to BTC China’s ‘Picasso‘ mobile app, also marketed internationally as an ‘anywhere ATM’ solution to allow both businesses and individuals to set percentage price commissions and trade bitcoins face-to-face.

In both cases, the apps replicate bitcoin ATMs’ basic functions as a way to trade without using a full exchange, and a business does not necessarily have to accept bitcoin for its goods or services to function as an ATM/exchange. Online marketplaces, such as such as LocalBitcoins and Mycelium’s Local Trader, also offer a way to connect with others to buy and sell bitcoin.

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