Bitcoin teller machines are slowly making inroads into bodegas and corner stores
By NACS Online
Bitcoin teller machines (BTMs) have become hot properties, showing up at convenience stores, gas stations and liquor stores, Pacific Standard Magazine reports. New York City now has more than 80 BTMs, with dozens more in other areas.
BTM makers promote their machines as alternatives banking systems and as a way to send funds. The machines also offer a way for people to invest in the Bitcoin marketplace with cash.
New York only allows Coinsource and CoinBTM to operate BTMs. “It was just this interesting phenomenon … and the plug-and-play aspect was pretty nice,” said Bobby Sharp, one of the owners of Coinsource along with Sheffield Clark and Travis Goff. “You don’t have labor [costs]. Your labor is a machine.” Coinsource has more than 160 BTMs in the United States, with 190% growth last year. Their goal is to have 1,000 BTMs operating by the end of this year.
Currently, you can use Bitcoin as payment at the ecommerce stores of Reddit or Microsoft, as well as a few local vendors. But BTMs offer a way for the unbanked to deposit money to buy online, and a less expensive way to send money abroad. However, because Bitcoin is a virtual currency, BTMs don’t dispense money. At this time, it seems unlikely that BTMs will take over from ATMs, but a few bodegas in New York City with the machines have seen heavy use.