Physical representation of the Bitcoin. Image via Flickr: BTC Keychain
New York-based Bitcoin ATM network, Coinsource, has installed an ATM in Mario’s Gourmet Deli, on the corner of 106th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. With only 127 bitcoin ATMs available nationwide, the new installation is something of an oddity, and the reaction to it has been… curious.
Despite the ATMs showing up more often (there are between 10 and 15 in New York City alone), they’re still oddities — an article in The New Yorker described them as “a machine with the body of a regular ATM, but the soul of a lottery terminal.”
Bitcoin ATMs actually work similarly to regular bank ATMs — cash is deposited, and in return, the equivalent amount of bitcoin — a form of cryptocurrency and digital payment system — is sent to the customer’s digital wallet; similarly, customers can exchange bitcoin for cash, but apparently this involves a very long, time-consuming process of multiple verifications to prove that you are indeed who you say you are. According to The New York Times, Bitcoin enthusiasts admit that the ATMs are more of a marketing gimmick.
With one bitcoin now equaling a little over $3000 USD, Coinsource, who owns and installs the ATMs, operates them on the expectation that the more popular bitcoin becomes, the more necessary it will become to make bitcoin transactions easier. The advantage for businesses to install bitcoin ATMs is based on the idea that it will increase more traffic in the store.
Despite how popular bitcoin may be coming, when asked, none of the staff at Mario’s Gourmet Deli, nor at three other New York City locations, really seemed to know how the bitcoin ATMs operate or much about the bitcoin itself (which, to be honest, only adds to the odd atmosphere around them). On top of this, the bitcoin ATMs have a lot of software and operational problems — as of the 23rd, just five days after it was installed on September 18th, the bitcoin ATM at Mario’s isn’t working; similarly the bitcoin ATM at Endless Summer Sandwich in Brooklyn has been waiting for maintenance for a while.
The curious case of the bitcoin ATM continues.
Mario’s Gourmet Deli is located at 934 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025 (on the corner of Amsterdam Ave. and 106th Street). To find a bitcoin ATM near you, please visit coinatmradar.com. To find out more about Coinsource, please visit www.coinsource.net.