What might be America's first bitcoin ATM was installed today next to Track 6 at South Station. LibertyTeller, a pair of self-described "bitcoin enthusiasts," unveiled the small, white box this morning, to generally positive response on Twitter.
But is Bitcoin ready to go mainstream? The digital currency, once used largely on the black market, has now been embraced by retailers such as Overstock.com, Karmaloop and Foodler. Some call it the future of finance. Some say it's dangerous because it's unregulated, and its value fluctuates widely.
Would you use a bitcoin ATM? Do you embrace bitcoin, or fear it? Add your thoughts to the comments, or tweet us @BostonComment.
Seems easy enough
Not living up to its potential?
Bitcoin needs to give up on its dream of replacing fiat currency, and focus on becoming something both much bigger and much more mundane: an invisible middle-man for the global payments system, which is currently way too expensive and outmoded. It would make sending cash around the world as easy as sending e-mails. And it would give Bitcoin a reputation as something truly useful, not just a crypto-libertarian plaything.
Let's not innovate all at once, folks
I love that South Station has a Bitcoin ATM. It's so cool and modern and - oh, hang on, the wheels just fell of a Red Line train.— Andy Primeau (@andyprimeau) February 19, 2014
More than we give it credit for?
Bitcoin as a payment system is just one of the potential applications of the network. To cap bitcoin’s value here would be like saying that the Internet, in the early days, was only as valuable as its ability to send email in a more efficient way than fax or snail mail. Bitcoin is valuable as a currency because of the economic efficiencies the bitcoin network is already creating as transactions flow over it. As with the Internet, more applications will flourish which will make the bitcoin network, and thus bitcoin as a currency, valuable.
A black market enabler?
Get ready, the future is inevitable.
I like my money where I can see it
Bitcoin seems to be solving a problem that nobody has. So far, US dollars have been working out great for me, and the fact that the FDIC insures the money in my bank account is even better. I don't see why I'd trade my real money, which I can use everywhere and whose value is reasonably stable, for money that that might be worthless in three months and that I can only use in a couple places. If I wanted to park my money in something intrinsically useless, I'd buy gold. At least gold is shiny.
Noah Guiney, @noahguiney
Boston Globe editorial board
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Boston.comment is an exchange for ideas about Boston and beyond, brought to you by the Boston Globe editorial page and edited by Globe columnist Joanna Weiss. We're the sponsor of Boston.com's #LabDebates and the creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure mayoral game.
A note on comments: Be honest, be open, be polite. And be warned: Personal attacks will be removed.