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Bitcoin ATM maker bets on growth surge ‘very near term’

Bitcoin has more than a few major handicaps—its wild price swings, it's seen as a means for black market transactions and it's hard to understand for investors.

Even as bitcoin prices plummeted to below $100 on one of its major exchanges Friday, Jordan Kelley thinks he has the answer for at least one of those problems: access.

That's why Kelley, CEO of Robocoin, opened the world's first bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, Canada, which now handles about 50 to 60 transactions a month. This week, Kelley installed its first U.S. bitcoin ATM—in Austin, Texas, just in time for the next month's South by Southwest festival and its tech-savvy crowds.

"It's the best store of wealth right now," Kelley said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "And that's why it spans across the globe and it's going to be understood and well-received."

(Read more: Robocoin rolling out first bitcoin ATM in the US)

Kelley believes bitcoin ATMs can help increase understanding and usage of the digital currency.

After peaking at $1,200 in November, bitcoin prices have seen a severe downward swing, skidding below $100 on a major exchange Friday morning. Most users are fleeing what was once the cryptocurrency's main portal—Mt.Gox—as the site recovers from technological glitches that suspended withdrawals, Kelley said.

Bitcoin prices fell to $91.50 on Mt.Gox on Friday, but traded at $563 on rival exchange Kelley said he uses the price for his ATMs' exchange rate.

(Read more: Bitcoin exchange to resume withdrawals after slump)

"The exchange rate has been very volatile just based on the fact that Mt.Gox is kind of going away at this point," Kelley said. "I think it's going to stabilize. We're going to see a surge in growth in the very, very near term."

—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen. Follow him on Twitter at @jmorganteen and get the latest stories from "Squawk on the Street." CNBC's Mark Berniker contributed to this report.


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