The world's first publicly accessible ATM machine which can exchange digital currency - bitcoins - for any official currency has been launched in Canada by a group of young entrepreneurs.
The ATM machine, operated by Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs and Nevada-based Robocoin, converts bitcoins to Canadian dollars and vice versa. It opened for business in a Vancouver coffee shop, on Tuesday.
The automated teller machine has already attracted its first customers, along with dozens of people who wanted to see how it worked, shortly after it went live.
The coffee house is one of at least 20 businesses that currently accept bitcoins, 'CBC News' reported. The operators plan to open such automated teller machine at four more locations across Canada.
Customers will need to have their palms scanned in order to exchange up to $3,000 worth of bitcoins per day.
The bitcoins will then be transferred to and from the customer's on-line bitcoin wallet. Users will have the option to receive a paper voucher representing the transaction, the report said.
Bitcoin, which came into existence in 2009, is not controlled by any authority such as a central bank.
The concept was introduced in 2008 by a pseudonymous developer known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto." The currency has reportedly gained notoriety for its use to buy illicit goods such as drugs on websites.
However, bitcoins are increasingly being accepted by legitimate businesses around the world.