Robocoin, the company, that launched the first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver almost a year ago, announced the software update of their kiosks to a new platform which is called “Robocoin 2.0” and is connected to the launch of Bitcoin ATM wallet. The service itself was announced earlier, but now it became available to the customers.
Bitcoin ATM wallet
The switch of the existing kiosks to a new platform will happen over time and the newly installed Bitcoin machines will support the wallet from the beginning.
Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley announced:
“It’s better than a Bitcoin ATM. It’s better than a Bitcoin Wallet. By combining the best of both, we’re creating Bitcoin’s killer app for global remittance, the underbanked, and beyond. In this case, 1+1=20. We’re unleashing the power of Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin ATM wallet provides easy access to Bitcoin for new users, although it adds the centralization factor as the funds of the users will be kept with Robocoin. Compared to existing wallet services or exchanges, Robocoin is quite fast at verifying new accounts: it takes about 10-20 minutes during the first visit of the ATM to get verified by the operator. Bitcoin ATM wallet gives an access to Bitcoin facilities without bank accounts and could be used by unbanked population as well.
“… anyone can walk up to a Robocoin Branch and obtain a beautifully powerful Bitcoin Wallet on the spot – no confusing private keys, no downloads and no cryptography expertise required. Moreover, depositing and withdrawing funds are now instantaneous and bank accounts have been removed from the process entirely.”
Definitely one of the advantages of the wallets introduction is that people can use these Robocoin kiosks as remittance points. So, what a user needs to do is top up account with cash, which gets converted into bitcoins. Then simply send bitcoins within the wallet system, and if there is a Robocoin kiosk on the recipient side, the receiver (who can also register a wallet in the network) will simply withdraw the cash in the local currency. The process is already faster than Western Union as the money are transferred immediately. This process was available before using Bitcoin directly as a transfer mechanism, but in this case the users had to install Bitcoin wallets software on their own and look into many technical details. With the wallet service it becomes an easier process. The other question to pay attention is availability and the fees.
Bitcoin ATM Availability and Fees
According to the data we’ve collected for the Bitcoin ATM Map, the Robocoin kiosks are mostly concentrated in developed countries at the moment (see Table below). So maybe at the moment the remittance opportunity is more a potential of the future when more and more kiosks will be installed in the developing countries and will cover the remittance corridors from developed to developing countries.
Current distribution of Robocoin kiosks:
Let’s compare the current fees with existing remittance services. As we wrote before the average fees on the Bitcoin ATM market are 6%. Looking at Robocoin Kiosk fees – it is very close to the market with 6.25% on average. As the users will have to pay the fees twice – deposit cash funds into the wallet and then recipient withdraw cash in local currency from another Robocoin kiosk – total fees will result in 12.5% on average. This is quite high and potentially will become lower with more competition among Bitcoin ATM operators. If the average rate decreases to 3%, then total fees will be 6% for a cash-2-cash transfer and this will be quite a good rate especially for particular corridors as remittances to Africa may reach 20-25%.
Robocoin Wallet Security
As wallet services adds centralized service and basically Robocoin have a control over the funds – the company protects the wallets by multi-factor authentication. This includes palm-vein scans, which overcomes the problem of theft and ID fraud. Funds and information are also protected by multi-sig architecture, 100% provable reserves, and offline cold storage.