Robocoin, one the major Bitcoin ATM providers, is having a makeover this summer, expanding and rebranding its offering to become more “bank-like”.
Going to their website, the headline reads, “Introducing Robocoin Bank, bringing Bitcoin to the real world” and claims it to be the first “Bitcoin bank with a physical presence”. One no longer “buys” or “sells” bitcoins- it’s now “deposits” and “withdrawals”. ATM’s are now “branches”. One can view their balances on the web (essentially looking at blockchain-based data in your bitcoin wallet), just like in online banking.
The bank-related terminology may have some appeal with newcomers who have just started looking into crypto. However, more involved Bitcoiners may be haunted by memories of the ill-fated Neo & Bee “Bitcoin Bank” in Cyprus, for which clients have complained about missing funds and an arrest warrant was issued for its CEO, who fled the country. Despite the multitude of bank-like features, the company lacks the essential ingredients of a real bank that provide government-backed protection.
Robocoin already has 13 “branches”- 4 in Texas alone, 3 of which are in Austin, which has become one of the most active Bitcoin centers in the U.S. Outside the U.S., there are branches in Vancouver (the world’s first Bitcoin ATM), Edmonton, London, Florence, Prague and Singapore.
They aim to go beyond the standards of traditional banking: account creation in 5 minutes, sending money anywhere using just a phone number, multi-currency support and a presence in several countries. They also state their employing of proof-of-solvency” for its reserves, and its keeping the bulk of funds in cold storage.
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In addition, 3 levels of security of employed: phone, PIN and “palm-vein” authentication- a technology that verifies one’s identity by analyzing the patterns made by blood vessels on the skin’s surface. The site claims such technology as more secure than fingerprinting.
Other biometric technologies have also been commercialized as part of the development of cryptocurrency. In February, Bionym announced its launch of the Nymi, a biometric wristband with a Bitcoin wallet app secured by your heartbeat.