KLRU News Briefs: Austin’s Bitcoin ATM & Civil Rights Summit Preview

KLRU News Briefs

This weekend during PBS NewsHour Weekend our local news stories look back in history, and look forward at what some call the “currency of the future.”

On Saturday it’s one of Austin’s newest gadgets: a Bitcoin ATM. The machine, designed by a company called Robocoin, was the first of its kind in the U.S. It’s located at HandleBar downtown.

The machine allows people to walk up and either enroll in Bitcoin on the spot or buy and sell from a pre-existing account. You can also withdraw cash.

“The one in Canada, it’s brought a lot of business. Ideally we get some foot traffic, get some booze sold and merchandise and stuff like that,” HandleBar Co-Owner Willie Stark told us.

But, Bitcoin has had some setbacks recently. We asked LBJ School economics professor Dr. Yanis Varoufakis about the risks involved.

“There is no telephone number you can dial if suddenly your Bitcoins have disappeared. All you need is a clever hacker who hacks into your wallet and suddenly your fortune in bitcoins has disappeared,” Varoufakis said.

On Sunday, we preview the LBJ Presidential Library’s Civil Rights Summit, which runs from April 8-10. Three of the four former living presidents will be on the University of Texas campus for the event, as will President Obama. The summit marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act.

“We thought what better way to [mark the anniversary] than with a summit that really celebrates the advances that were made in ’64 but also looks hard at some of the open issues in 2014,” LBJ Foundation President Elizabeth Christian told us.

NHW.SUMMIT PVW.WEBPanel discussions will be held each afternoon with activists and civil rights leaders before the evening keynotes with Presidents Carter, Clinton and George W. Bush. President Obama will speak Thursday morning at 11:30.

Tickets are no longer available but the entire summit will be streamed online on the summit’s website: www.civilrightssummit.org and will be televised on The Longhorn Network. You can see the entire Summit schedule here.