SOUTHEAST NC –– Residents of the Cape Fear area can now purchase Bitcoin from Harris Teeters or Food Lions.
Cryptocurrency company Coinme, which produced some of the world’s first Bitcoin ATMs, has expanded a partnership with a true coin exchange company to make bitcoin available for purchase in North Carolina.
Coinme is working with a company that operates genuine coin exchanges, Coinstar, which already has a network of machines that provide cash for coins in grocery stores across the state.
Armed with a recent regulatory approval from the NC Office of the Commissioner of Banks, Coinme has been granted a license to rewire Coinstar devices, making them capable of purchasing Bitcoins.
Bitcoin can now be purchased at 15 grocery stores in the Wilmington area. (See specific locations at the bottom of this article.)
“We were recently licensed from the North Carolina financial regulator,” company CEO Neil Bergquist said in an interview. “Coinstar has reached out to its business partners, and they also see it as a great opportunity. “
Coinme started in 2014 as a producer of Bitcoin ATMs, which allowed users to scan a QR code to move cryptocurrency into a digital wallet. Bergquist said Coinme built the world’s first licensed cryptocurrency ATM.
“Because we worked with regulators from day one, we were able to create that element of trust that was really lacking in the industry,” he said.
The company engaged with Coinstar in 2019, riding the wave of heightened interest in crypto that followed a price spike in late 2017. The platform on existing Coinstar machines is simpler than the process. standard coin purchase.
“A lot of people think you have to be a computer scientist to store digital assets,” Bergquist said.
His company’s technology requires users to create an account on their website, upload government ID, and then be ready to buy. Money inserted into Coinstar machines will be exchanged for cryptocurrency in a user’s Coinme account.
“We are one of the biggest bitcoin ramps in the world,” Bergquist added. “You can go to your neighborhood grocery store and in two clicks you have just bought some bitcoin.”
“A peer-to-peer electronic payment system”
The origin of Bitcoin began with a white paper published in October 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of the mysterious founder of the currency, who has never been identified. Nakamoto dreamed of a “decentralized” financial exchange, without interference from banks or governments, and offered direct software solutions that could achieve this goal.
The technology used by Bitcoin (BTC) and its newer counterparts allows people to send assets to each other over the internet – recording all movements on a public ledger made up of strings of letters and numbers. Every action on the ledger is irreversible, making transactions impossible to handle. The so-called blockchain is powered by “miners” who use computer hardware to move the process forward.
Blockchain hawks believe technology could spark revolutions in industries other than finance. One company used data sharing capabilities to change the way sensitive medical data is exchanged between physician and patient; another seeks to make voting on cell phones possible.
Coinbase, a first cryptocurrency exchange launched in 2012, was valued at around $ 100 billion when it went public in April 2021.
“Back then, a lot of big companies were never going to touch crypto, or at least that was the mindset,” Bergquist said.
During the 2017 winter holiday season, the price of BTC skyrocketed, hitting a high of just under $ 20,000 per week before Christmas. Subsequently, it took a devastating plunge but steadily regained value in the years that followed.
PayPal incorporated cryptocurrency into its exchanges last year, and online financial platforms like Venmo and Cashapp have also thrived in the crypto arena. This widespread adoption by pieces of the private sector helped spur a rise in the price of BTC that persisted through mid-April 2021.
But in recent months, his critics have made noise. Elon Musk has entered the fray a few times, announcing the end of Tesla’s acceptance of BTC as a tender and calling for the environmental consequences of bitcoin mining.
As of this week, BTC’s price is floating in the middle of $ 30,000, down from its 2021 high of around $ 63,000 two months ago.
“The majority of the country is familiar with Bitcoin and digital currency, but very few people still own them,” Bergquist said. “Once people know that there is a reliable, safe, easy, and dumb-proof way to buy bitcoin, then we see adoption grow dramatically from there.”
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