One year ago, Adam O'Brien started reading and researching the digital currency bitcoin. Now, the 21-year-old is the founder of Bitcoin Solutions, an Edmonton-based company that recently brought Saskatchewan's firstbitcoin ATM to Saskatoon.
"I really saw an opportunity to make it understandable and accessible," O'Brien said. "The accessibility of bitcoin was not where I wanted it to be or what I was searching for as a consumer."
The ATM machine, located at 721 Broadway Ave. in the middle of Calories restaurant, exchanges Canadian dollars for bitcoins and bitcoins for cash. This feature makes it one of western Canada's first two-way bitcoin ATMs, according to O'Brien. 
bitcoin atm
The bitcoin ATM is located inside Calories restaurant, located at 712 Broadway Avenue. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)
O'Brien said his company's bitcoin exchange model is secure and highly user-friendly.
"If you know absolutely nothing about bitcoin, our machine is open to brand new users," O'Brien explained. "We actually generate a wallet right here for you instantly, for you then to be able to take home and import." 
In February, the digital currency took amajor blow when a popular bitcoin exchange, Mt.Gox, went bust after swirling allegations of mass fraudulent activity after $370 million worth of bitcoins went missing, driving the price of the currency down.
However, O'Brien said people can avoid losing their money to the intangible bitcoin, as long as they do their homework and stay in control of their own bitcoins with a digital wallet — akin to a cloud storage-style online space crossed with an email account.
"It is really important for consumers to understand that you have to hold your own bitcoin," O'Brien said. "I use this analogy time and time again. If I had an envelope with $100,000 cash and I gave it to anyone on the street and said, 'Hey, hold on to this for a couple days and I'll be back for it next Tuesday', chances are that money is not coming back. Bitcoin gives you the power to hold your own money. So don't take that away from bitcoin."
What can you buy in Saskatoon with bitcoin? O'Brien said Calories restaurant will soon be accepting it as payment for food and drinks. Despite its relative newness, he believes it will one day be a mainstream currency used to buy everything.
"If you look at what email did to post mail, I think bitcoin will do that in comparison to sending money all over the world," O'Brien said.

Counter-terror and fraud items.....

Bitcoin A Terrorist Threat? 

Counterterrorism Program 

Names Virtual Currencies As 

Area Of Interest

After attracting attention from law enforcement, financial regulators and old-school Wall Street investors, bitcoin is now on the U.S. military’s radar as a possible terrorist threat.

Friday was the deadline for submissions to a counterterrorism program seeking vendors to help the military understand state-of-the-art technologies that may pose threats to national security, and “bitcoin” and “virtual currencies” are listed among them.
The program is being conducted by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, a division of the Department of Defense that identifies and develops counterterrorism abilities and investigates irregular warfare and evolving threats.
An unclassified memo from January unearthed by Bitcoin Magazine detailed solicitations for CTTSO projects. The memo states that one of the mission requirements is for “ to develop and/or enhance new concepts and constructs for understanding the role of virtual currencies” in financing threats against the United States.
The memo said the blurring of national lines is facilitating the transfer of virtual currencies: “The introduction of virtual currency will likely shape threat finance by increasing the opaqueness, transactional velocity, and overall efficiencies of terrorist attacks,” it stated.
At the heart of the concern is the anonymity built into the bitcoin architecture. While every bitcoin transaction is public, the parties involved are kept anonymous. With bitcoins, illegal operations can be made with the speed and ease of the Internet and with the secrecy of cash.
Several recent high-profile cases have put bitcoin under greater scrutiny.
In October, the FBI closed down the Silk Road, a digital black market that allowed users to buy drugs, guns and even professional assassins. Silk Road accepted only bitcoin for payments, and the man arrested for running Silk Road was charged with narcotics trafficking and money
laundering, among other charges.
Charlie Shrem, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and the head of BitInstant, a defunct bitcoin exchange, was arrested in January on charges of money laundering with bitcoins.
In February, Mt. Gox, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, filed for bankruptcy protection after hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoins were stolen. No criminal charges have been filed yet, but many former Mt. Gox customers suspect that it was a scam.
A Treasury Department investigation said in March that it found no evidence of “widespread” use of virtual currencies like bitcoin to finance terrorism. Still, it’s clear that nefarious individuals have recognized the potential to use bitcoin for harm.
The anonymity seems to be what concerns the CTTSO the most. The agency also called for research on “anonymizing software” and “Dark Web,” and views anonymous networks like TOR as a way to traffic drugs, weapons, humans and even nuclear technologies undetected. The CTTSO’s mission against irregular warfare and evolving threats also has a requirement for “methods and means to systematically discern and display ‘precursors of instability’ in the Dark Web.”
The Navy was one of the original developers of the Dark Web, as onion routing, which creates anonymous messaging by using several routers to give Internet data multiple layers of encryption, was developed in the United States Naval Research Laboratory to protect government communications.
Also on the CTTSO’s list of terrorism research topics were Android, Motorola, social media and virtual reality. Google and Facebook may want to take note.