Project Skyhook Interview: Co-founder discusses the open-source, $999 Bitcoin ATM

5-17-2014 6-50-29 PM

The cryptocurrency gadget space is never short of fun projects, and one that I have been keeping an eye on lately is the Skyhook open-source Bitcoin ATM .  The team, based out of Portland, OR is now ready to ship the $999 open-source Bitcoin ATM.  I recently reached out to Jon Hannis, co-founder of Skyhook, to ask him a few questions about his ATM and how it can function in the real world.  

What was the inspiration behind Project Skyhook?

This is covered on the website. I’ve understood for a while now that the largest barrier to bitcoin adoption is accessibility. Before I began Project Skyhook back in early 2013, I saw that no Bitcoin ATM solutions existed, or would soon exist, that were focused, open and accountable. The necessity for something like Project Skyhook was very clear at that time. This was the inspiration behind our Bitcoin ATM.

Could you tell us a bit more about the team behind the project?

The core members of the team are all long time bitcoin enthusiasts located in Portland, Oregon. The entire team shares the belief that open-source is the best way to write software people can really trust.

What advantages does Project Skyhook have over its competitors?

It’s really about what Project Skyhook doesn’t have. We don’t have proprietary, closed source software. We don’t have a $10,000+ price tag. We don’t have your private keys, or a percentage that we take from any transaction and we don’t have any restrictions on how you choose to operate the device. Want to build additional functionality? Go right ahead! We accept pull requests.

How does the Skyhook ATM accommodate AML/KYC regulations?

We’ve received several proposals for AML/KYC solutions, the most promising at the moment is an modular (and entirely optional) Jumio integration.

Regarding alternative cryptocurrencies, could someone theoretically purchase a unit and modify the code him/herself?  Has this been accomplished to your knowledge?  What is the timeline for having out-of-box support for alternative cryptocurrencies?

Yes, Yes, and September 15th. Temporary solutions will exist before September, and are currently being developed by Skyhook operators for lite, doge and franko. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on the latest innovations of the project over on

What improvements are on the horizon for the next generation of Bitcoin ATM’s and which area do you see the most need for innovation?

We believe that in a very short amount of time all Bitcoin ATMs will need to become open-source in order to compete. This is the biggest improvement that is on the horizon. For bitcoin in general, the open-source bitcoin libraries need to be continually updated and improved so that more trustless services can be created. I’m most excited about payment systems that work over sms, providing a service in remote areas of the world that currently lack infrastructure.