Put in pocket change, get bitcoins


[gbg] put together a neat little project to get people familiarized with Bitcoins. A lot of techies know what Bitcoins are, but the impetus to download the Bitcoin client and start mining is a bit too much for some. [gbg] has a solution for this – a Bitcoin vending machine. Just dump your pocket change in the coin slot, and out comes a QR code that allows you to add Bitcoins to your wallet.

Inside this Bitcoin briefcase is a Raspberry Pi that connects to a local WiFi connection. Every five seconds, the Raspi looks at the current conversion rate of USD to Bitcoins. Once coins are deposited into the briefcase, a receipt complete with a scannable QR code is printed on a small thermal printer.

When [gbg] took this to the latest DEFCON, a lot of people were interested in the project and started shoveling change into the machine. So many people were interested that [gbg] and his compatriots are planning on turning this into a proper open-source device, complete with a bill reader and possibly an ASIC miner so the Pi can sell the coins it produces.

Check out the video below for some more info.


  1. Joseph L says:

    Totally can’t see someone hacking this by jamming the Wifi signal to manipulate the exchange rate…

    • Trui says:

      Sounds like a lot of work for a few bitcoins.

      • PSBlake says:

        Bitcoins trade at about $100 per coin right now.

        That said, if the wifi signal were hacked, I don’t think the device would be able to generate a valid QR code for obtaining your coins.

        • Trui says:

          Assuming the device is connected using WPA2, it will take some effort to break that. After that you still need to break into the connection to the internet servers (which may be running over SSH or HTTPS). And even then your transfer will be limited by the wallet size, and/or sanity checks on the exchange rate. Surely, somebody with the necessary skills should be able to find a normal job that pays more.

    • Coolty says:

      Except he said in the video that he’s using an SSH tunnel to connect to his VPS where the coins are hosted. Probably could just tunnel the traffic over said SSH connection. So that wouldn’t work.

  2. goamkp says:

    Walk outside, if you are lucky – get arrested, if you are unlucky – get shot.

  3. Kelvin Mead says:

    people give you money, you give them bit coins…

    how does the money you receive enter into the bitcoin market?

  4. Yarr says:

    Useful currency goes in, currency only good for buying slim jims, drugs and child porn comes out. Down with the fiat! up, Up, UP!

    • Greenaum says:

      To be fair you’re better off buying drugs with actual cash.

    • Kevin Keith says:

      Bitcoin is not a currency, it’s a commodity. At best.

      • Trui says:

        A commodity has an intrinsic value. Bitcoins have no intrinsic value. They are only useful as a medium for representing the value of a transaction, i.e. a currency.

        • cornelius says:

          I always get a chuckle out of how some extreme die-hard bitcoins complain how the USD (or other currency) is a fiat currency -> thus has not ‘real value’ -> thus bitcoin is ‘better’. however they always fail to see that bitcoin is also backed by vacuum and hope that it can exchanged for goods/services. personally, i put bitcoins in same category as collectibles and antiques.

          • Trui says:

            Obviously, both bitcoin and fiat currencies are not backed by anything except trust. The only difference is that fiat currencies are mature, inflationary and centrally governed, while bitcoin is distributed, deflationary, pretty much unregulated, and immature. Neither is perfect, but they can each fulfill a useful role. I wouldn’t want my paycheck in bitcoin, but I’ve done some odd jobs for people on the other side of the world for a couple of bitcoins, which is a much easier than getting payment in fiat or antiques.

        • Karl Marx says:

          “A commodity has an intrinsic value. ”

          Don’t fetishize those commodities, buddy!

    • page 202 says:

      Two of those things are legal.

    • Atwas911 says:

      Ah yes…. another bitcoin hater.

      Lets see.. are you a banker? Interests in Visa or Mastercard?
      Are you a government employee?

      Or do you just hate freedom and people’s rights to the wealth they generate?

      You list several bad uses that people “have” (although im sure not as in abundance as the propaganda would lead everyone to believe) used bitcoins for. This I won’t deny.

      BUT there are ton’s of places that accept bitcoins and users and businesses are able to accept bitcoins without having to “apply” to be able to recieve them from some criminal corporation..

      In return.. Governemnts and criminal Corporations are unable to “steal” your entire lifesavings from you like the criminal government of cypress just recently done..

      With one stroke from a criminal politician’s pen, your entire life savings as a matter of law is no longer yours..

      Bitcoins are a way of saying.. “THIS IS MINE AND YOU CAN NOT FORCE THEM OUT OF MY HANDS!”

      Which leads us back to you.. and why people like you make these comments…

      You want that money.. You want your criminal corporations and criminal politicians to have the ability to loot that money from people, without consent, violently if necessary..

      There really is no other alternative explanation of your comments.

      “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” –Thomas Jefferson, 1802.

      Thomas Jefferson proves to be more far more perceptive than “Miss Leo”.

    • PSBlake says:

      Slim jims, drugs, and child porn? Gyft.com sells giftcards for a pretty wide selection of retailers, including Amazon, Sears, Staples, Toys R Us, and even a bunch of restaurants. Humblebundle.com accepts bitcoins for their game bundles. Individuals sell a variety of odds and ends (not including any of the things you mentioned) on Bitmit.net. Independently owned brick-and-mortar businesses are using Bitpay as a payment processor for bitcoins.

      Bitcoin is far from a black-market currency.

  5. hodginsa says:

    Wow I should scan the documents I made on creating one of these a few months ago. I wish I had done it.

  6. BLUE says:

    Buttcoins? No thanks.

  7. dave says:

    I like thatithas a handle; makes it easyfor someone to grab and run away with.

  8. Lucian says:

    This seems really cool… money for bitcoins. ^^ good idea.

  9. TheAlchemist says:

    I think a chicken vending machine would be even better. There’s no internet butt-hurt over whether chickens have value, most people want chicken and/or eggs in some form, they’re self-replicating, thus your investment grows in value at a better rate than most paper investments.

  10. 0c says:

    Now do one for Pogs.

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