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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

America’s first Bitcoin ATM arrives at South Station

Thousands+of+UMass+Boston+students+pass+by+the+ATM+on+a+daily+basis
Thousands of UMass Boston students pass by the ATM on a daily basis

The recent installment of America’s first Bitcoin ATM in South Station has already generated significant interest from the press. The Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, Boston.com and many other news outlets have all written reports covering the new ATM.
Liberty Teller, the organization which installed the Bitcoin ATM, is likely to bring more of these machines to the Boston area. When asked what Bitcoin was, Liberty Teller co-founder Chris Yim replied, “I like to think of it as internet cash. It really has the security and privacy of typical cash with the benefit of the internet [in that] you can send money anywhere.” He also reports that there have been “several hundred customers since Wednesday [Jan. 26].” The Liberty Teller website goes on to say it is infinitely divisible and relatively inexpensive compared to wire transfers and most credit cards.
One question, though, still remains: how much will Bitcoin’s usage aggregate with an increase in accessibility? Despite the fact that Bitcoin has captured the attention of many newspapers, vendors with a physical presence in Boston seem hesitant to accept Bitcoin and its “bitcoins” as a new form of currency. According to coinmap.org, only nine vendors in Boston currently accept bitcoins.
A growing concern is that this Bitcoin attempt will meet a similar fate as others before it. Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange company in Japan, lost hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoins due to a security breach. The CEO of BitInstant, Charlie Shrem, was also arrested for money laundering on Jan. 24.  
Victims of Bitcoin theft are left with the task of suing for claims regarding a currency that is not legally regulated yet. A report from Reuters reveals that according to “legal and regulatory experts, customers of the bitcoin exchange may have little chance of recovering their funds if they go missing.”
Considering the most recent happenings with Bitcoin, it will be interesting to see if the program will endure the financial world or will be shoved out by the other already established modes of currency exchange.