SOUTH EASTERN North Carolina – Cape Fear residents can now buy Bitcoins from their local Harris Teeters or Food Lions stores.
Cryptocurrency company Coinme, which produced some of the very first bitcoin ATMs in the world, has expanded its partnership with a real-life coin exchange company to make bitcoins available for purchase in North Carolina.
Coinme has partnered with real coin exchange company Coinstar, which already has a network of vending machines that dispense cash for coins in grocery stores across the state.
Armed with the recent regulatory approval of the North Carolina State Banking Commissioner’s Office, Coinme has been licensed to reconnect Coinstar devices, making them capable of buying in bitcoin.
Bitcoin can now be bought at 15 grocery stores in the Wilmington area. (See Specific Locations at the bottom of this article.)
“We recently received a license from North Carolina’s financial regulator,” CEO Neil Bergqvist said in an interview. “Coinstar has reached out to its retail partners and they see this as a great opportunity, too.”
Coinme started in 2014 as a manufacturer of Bitcoin ATM machines that allowed users to scan a QR code to transfer cryptocurrency to a digital wallet. Bergqvist said Coinme has built the world’s first licensed cryptocurrency ATM machine.
“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 partnered with Coinstar in 2019 in the wake of the increased interest in cryptocurrency that followed the price spike in late 2017. The platform on existing Coinstar machines is simpler than the standard coin buying process.
“A lot of people think you need to be a computer scientist to store digital assets,” Bergqvist said.
His company’s technology requires users to create an account on their website, upload a government-issued ID, and then they are ready to purchase. Funds deposited into Coinstar machines will be exchanged for cryptocurrency in the user’s Coinme account.
“We are one of the largest Bitcoin producers in the world,” added Bergqvist. “You can go to the nearest grocery store and in two clicks you just bought a bitcoin.”
“Peer-to-peer electronic money system”
Bitcoin’s origins began with a white paper published in October 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of the mysterious founder of the currency, whose identity has never been identified. Nakamoto dreamed of a “decentralized” financial exchange without the intervention of 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 by logging all movements in a public ledger made up of strings of letters and numbers. Every action in the registry is irreversible, so transactions cannot be manipulated. The so-called blockchain is powered by “miners” who use computer hardware to speed up the process.
Blockchain hawks believe that technology could start a revolution in industries other than finance. One company used data-sharing capabilities to change the way doctors and patients share sensitive health data; the other seeks to make mobile voting possible.
Coinbase, one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges, launched in 2012, was valued at approximately $ 100 billion at the time of its initial public offering in April 2021.
“At the time, a lot of big companies were never going to touch cryptocurrency, or at least that was the way of thinking,” Bergqvist said.
In the 2017 winter holiday season, the BTC price skyrocketed, hitting a ceiling of just under $ 20,000 in the week before Christmas. After that, he made a crushing blow, but has since been steadily regaining its value.
PayPal has integrated cryptocurrency into its exchanges last year, and online financial platforms like Venmo and Cashapp have also expanded into cryptocurrency. This massive adoption by parts of the private sector helped drive the rise in the price of BTC, which remained stable until mid-April 2021.
But in recent months, his detractors have raised a fuss. Elon Musk intervened several times in the fray, announcing the end of the Tesla BTC tender and addressing the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.
BTC is hovering around $ 30,000 this week, up from a 2021 high of about $ 63,000 two months ago.
“Most of the country knows about bitcoins and digital currencies, but very few currently own them,” Bergqvist said. “Once people know that there is a reliable, safe, simple and idiot-proof way to buy bitcoins, we will see their adoption skyrocket from now on.”
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