A POKER CHAMPION (TURNED BITCOIN MINER) IS GOING ALL-IN ON THE CRYPTOCURRENCY’S FUTURE THERE.
BY MATT VILLANO
Las Vegas. Tremendous wagers are commonplace in this town, and have been for decades. Big bets on cryptocurrency–those are a bit more unusual.
This explains why a local poker player’s recent investment into bitcoin ATMs has turned so many heads. The entrepreneur, 29-year-old Chris McAlary, essentially has pushed “all-in” on the virtual currency, using the entirety of his liquid assets to found Coin Cloud, a nascent company that operates ATMs for bitcoins.
McAlary’s believes in bitcoin’s future as the currency of choice for gamblers. And there is a confluence of factors that might make Las Vegas the perfect place to push bitcoin into mainstream use–if McAlary and like-minded entrepreneurs prove out its use on the Strip, casinos around the world are poised to make bitcoin its currency of choice.
“There’s no question that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have the potential to be one of the most important innovations of the 21st century,” says McAlary. “Las Vegas could be one of the places that really helps drive it all forward.”
Specifically, McAlary’s company uses ATMs that are Internet-enabled kiosks that allow users to buy or sell bitcoin. The machines that went online this summer are in a particularly prominent spot, steps from the busiest part of the Las Vegas Strip. In the first few weeks, the machine outperformed even McAlary’s most liberal estimates. After 45 days, the Vegas machine overtook the a bitcoin ATM in Vancouver as the No. 1 performing bitcoin ATM in the world. McAlary won’t say exactly how many transactions the machine has handled so far, but hints that volume is already has surpassed $1 million.