SURREY — Eight months after Vancouver’s first Bitcoin ATM was unveiled to the public, Surrey now has one to claim as its own.
Situated at the newly opened Beta Collective, a co-working space in Whalley, the ATM opens the doors for residents south of the Fraser to easily get in on the Bitcoin game, by allowing anyone to purchase the digital currency with cash.
Owned and operated by the Crypto Think Tank, a Vancouver-based company dedicated to all things Bitcoin, the ATM was a natural fit for the centrally located Beta Collective site.
“We were just wondering where we should put it and at the same time we were wanting to hold an event to get our name out there,” said Crypto Think Tank co-founder Eric Liow. “In Vancouver there’s already an established community but they’re not looking to expand outside, so we decided to go outside into Surrey and when we saw Beta Collective was opening here, we thought that they aligned perfectly with what we wanted to do.”
As there are already several Bitcoin ATM’s in Vancouver, Beta Collective co-founder Jason Wong said being centrally located in the heart of downtown Surrey, they were more than happy to host the city’s first.
“This is Innovation Boulevard, so where else would be better to do something innovative like this?” he said. “Because we’re a co-working space, we’re always welcoming interesting, cool stuff, not necessarily always within the tech realm but just interesting new ideas.”
Wong said they also hope to foster more innovative initiatives at Beta Collective and hopefully draw some people out who might’ve thought it too much trouble to head into Vancouver for the same experience.
“Cryptocurrency is something that will turn the industry on its head, it’s disruptive technology and this stuff totally fits with what we hope to see come out of Surrey,” he said. “This is our first foray into something like this, but with some of the other tenants in the space we’re already thinking of doing a hackathon.”
As for the ATM, the way that it’s set up is that users wanting to purchase Bitcoin at the current exchange rate can do so by setting up their digital wallet and then simply inserting their cash into the machine. However, while users can purchase Bitcoins with the machine, they can’t exchange Bitcoins for cash.
“So it’s almost like a vending machine in that sense, you can buy Bitcoin but can’t sell it,” said Liow.
Having partnered with Bitcoin exchange BitPay to process all their transactions, Liow said they have a few Bitcoins tied to the ATM, but anyone looking to do large transactions should refrain from coming in with wads of cash.
“If you want to do large transactions you can broker through us directly,” said Liow.
For smaller transactions, the beauty of the ATM, said Liow, is that “It’s simple in that it doesn’t require customers to go through all these application verifications that other exchanges might require, which might need your banking information and all that kind of stuff.”
And as the popularity of Bitcoin continues to grow and more and more businesses begin to accept it in lieu of dollars, Wong and Liow are just happy to be doing what they can to make Bitcoin that much more accessible to users.
“We’ve even set up a Bitcoin merchant system so that we can actually accept Bitcoin as pay,” said Wong. “ So instead of cash, debit or Visa, people can actually rent a desk from us with Bitcoin and we can still provide these services.”
As of press time, the price of a single Bitcoin was trading for around $700. For more information, go to cryptothinktank.com.
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