Google’s youthful and fashionable approach to research and development has been an attractive backdrop for Bitcoin technology developers during the last year.
A far cry from the outspoken mavericks which proliferate the Bitcoin trading scene, and the debate as to whether virtual currency will one day usurp fiat, the technology scene has brought forward some remarkable developments, many of which have been discussed at various Google Campus locations around the world.
Last year, Meni Rosenfeld of Bitcoil held several meetups at Google Campus’ Tel Aviv location, often attended by educated technological innovators who reside in the world’s second-placed region for tech start ups outside of Silicon Valley.
This movement led to the attraction of many venture capital firms, and subsequently global regulators, most of whom take the view that if Bitcoin can succeed, it will do so via technological evolution.
Today, at Google Campus in London, a fully functional Bitcoin ATM has gone live, and is situated at the Campus’ co-working space where visitors can enjoy a cappucino and a snack whilst buying Bitcoin.
The technology that the ATM is based on has come a long way since the first prototype was displayed at Google Campus Tel Aviv over a year and a half ago, and in this case, the machine which was made by BitAccess uses an application which was actually developed at London’s Google Campus, called Wyre, which accepts Bitcoin payments for refreshments.
As far as costs are concerned, Coindesk today reported that the machine is operated by Bitbuddy, with the ATM performing two-way transactions between fiat and bitcoin, taking its prices from the Bitstamp exchange. Users are charged a 5% fee for the service.
While the machine does not collect identity information currently, it is equipped to do so should future regulation demand ‘know your customer’ data.
Bitbuddy is run and self-funded by Myles Cirjanic-Edwards, a recent economics graduate and early investor in bitcoin, who said he is planning to install a second BitAccess machine in London in the coming months.
In congruence with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s plans to ensure that London’s wood-paneled, traditional banking image is complemented by it becoming a world center for new technologies including Bitcoin, the once dilapidated area of Shoreditch, just a short walk from the City of London and its financial district, has become known locally as “Silicon Roundabout” due to the number of ultra-modern innovators that operate from the location, which is also home to Google Campus.
The in-house developed Wyre application has been available for less than three months and is truly in its infancy, although it already has one merchant signed up, which is the cafe at Google Campus, thus demonstrating that global giants such as Google will support small, innovative developments in relatively unknown fields.
Onwards and upwards…..