An interesting piece of Bitcoin news doing the rounds today is that "Coinstar", the operators of vending-style machines that count-up your accumulated small coins and change, and turn them into something more useful, traditionally a shopping-voucher, have begun to vend Bitcoin. Which, as somebody who uses these machines with relative frequency, is something of considerable interest.
At least several times per year I head off to the local Tesco, with a carrier bag full of shrapnel, and feed it in down the chute, listening to it all clunk and churn, as I watch the value on the screen grow, fishing out any coins that fail to make the grade for whatever reason, before printing out a voucher, with which to buy myself such treats as whisky, and luxury cheese-cake (and other things that I might usually not). And while I might miss my twice-annual luxury cheese-cake, the ability to easily turn this pocket-rubble into Bitcoin, would be most welcome...
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While Coinstar have been around for a good while now, taking 10% in exchange for taking the annoyance out of having to count up and spend large swathes of small-denomination coins, this Bitcoin revelation has come about due to a recent partnership with "Coinme" - the manufacturers of Bitcoin ATM machines, who operate from hundreds of locations across the U.S. being "America's first licensed Bitcoin kiosk company". And in addition to being able to convert your loose change into Bitcoin (presumably) via this new partnership, users will also be able to use Coinstar's machines in the same way as any other Coinme Bitcoin ATM to purchase Bitcoin. By inserting cash, printing out a Bitcoin redemption code, and then redeeming it via Coinme's website.
Unfortunately, at time of posting, these Bitcoin enabled Coinstar machines are only operating from a number of locations within the U.S. So it looks like I'll have to keep on treating myself to whisky and such for the time being. But should this prove to be a successful partnership for the two aforementioned companies, creating adequate demand - who knows. Maybe they'll roll this out across more machines, across more countries. And should this ever become an option in the UK - it's something I'll most certainly make use of (hint-hint Coinstar) - get on it...
For more information you can visit the Coinstar website HERE, or the Coinme website HERE.