Cryptocurrency has taken a major jump forward with the launch of two bitcoin ATMs in as many days.
Brighton and Hove is one of a handful of places in the UK to host machines which allow the exchange of physical and online currency.
Two new ATMs vied to be the first in the city, will launch at Marwood cafe on Ship Street on Thursday and at Flawless Clothing on Kensington Gardens on Saturday.
Bitcoin is a rapidly growing digital currency and payment system, which allows users to complete transactions without the need for a central bank.
The increasing rate of adoption has promoted companies such as Dell and CeX to accept it. Meanwhile Chancellor George Osborne pledged to examine how bitcoin could help Britain become the “global centre of financial innovation”.
Flawless Clothing, which also has a printer service, has been accepting the currency in-store since late 2013.
It has now teamed up with ATM specialist Satoshipoint to install a new lamassu machine which went live on Saturday.
The ATM allows users to trade cash for bitcoin instantly, bypassing the usual waiting period.
Flawless director Scott Marshall said: “We hope that this new addition to our store will help to increase public awareness of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as offering a useful service to the dedicated local community.”
Meanwhile Futurecoins, which installed the UK’s first ATM in Shoreditch before The Marwood, chose Brighton on the strength of its thriving bitcoin and social enterprise scene.
Joel Raziel, Futurecoins founder, said: “There is such a strong counter-culture scene in Brighton we just knew it would be an area in which bitcoin would be jumped on.
“Also, the cheap remittance payments to Africa and future links to charitable donations all appeal to the strong local community.”
Graham Lally, founder of the Bitcoin Brighton group, said: “It’s been bubbling along for the past year so it’s a great step to bring it to mainstream attention.
“You can just walk in and exchange cash so I think people will enjoy experimenting and trying it out. It has a global scale and allows you to spend money around the world like sending an email.
“You don’t have to carry cash around and there’s less fraud risks.
“Certain aspects of it are revolutionary. I think bitcoin will be around for a while but it will be part of a much larger, rapidly changing landscape of technological innovation.”