Talk to the average person about bitcoin and the response is usually the same; How on earth do I get Bitcoin? Well, co-founders Chris Yim and Kyle Powers are seeking to help connect the common man to access Bitcoins through their Liberty Teller organization. Having set up America’s first Bitcoin ATM in South Station in Boston, MA earlier this year, Yim and Powers set up a second one Monday in Harvard Square.
[divider]How does it work?[/divider]
These kiosks are surprisingly simple to use. The Liberty Teller site explains it here.
Essentially, you use it a lot like an ATM. You access your account (They support Blockchain.info) by scanning your QR Code, then you feed in USD to the slot and it sends the BTC equivalent to the account. This greatly reduces the buying/selling process of many Bitcoin exchanges. Many have large verification processes that can take hours to days. Liberty Teller kiosks make it possible in 30 seconds. They also allow for the use of paper wallets as well for safer, more secure bitcoin usage.
[divider]A great chance to introduce bitcoin to the local community[/divider]
Liberty Teller is also holding a few promotions to excite the local area about Bitcoin. Says their site:
“As part of our core mission to increase access to bitcoin, we will be giving out free paper wallets at South Station with 1-50 mBTC randomly pre-loaded on them. To donate to this cause, you can send bitcoin to the QR code above. All donations will be completely redistributed to the community. Look at all the wallets the community has funded here!
Your chance at fame: We will give naming rights for our second machine to the highest donor to our giveaway fund during March. If you want to try out a name for your kid or want to be part of history, this is your chance Congratulations to Anonymous for naming our first machine Libby.”
What this means for the local community is that now people don’t have to be confused on the everyday usage of Bitcoin. Instead, they can go to the kiosk and in a minute, completed a transfer of funds under low costs and high speeds. Simple and user friendly, this could be a huge investment in the Boston area. At the moment, a look at Coinmap shows us that Boston has at least nine brick-and-mortar establishments accepting or dealing with Bitcoin in the area. Maybe time will tell if everyday use of cryptocurrencies really does put competitive pressure on financial institutions.
On top of that, Yim and Powers were interviewed by the esteemed Investopedia upon the launch of their newest kiosk. My favorite quote from their interview:
“Q: Why do we need a digital currency, other than the lower transaction fees?”
“Just like the early days of the internet, we don’t need it today, but a decade or so from now, it we may feel like we do. It’s not just lower fees (which alone is a great reason for Bitcoin to exist); it’s speed and functionality.
Lower fees are important because they make us all pay less for everything. You and I may one day save a few percent on everyday purchases, but more importantly, the world’s unbanked billions may finally have access to financial services.
For speed, think of the last time you had to send money quickly. If you did a free ACH [Automated Clearing House, as in a direct debit], it probably took almost a week before the receiving party could withdraw the funds. If you did a wire, it took an entire day and cost $20-$50. It gets much worse if you send large amounts of money, or if you send money internationally. That’s just not how transactions should work in the Internet Age. Bitcoin is instant, no matter the transaction size.
Finally, for functionality, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Entire new industries are being created right now that use microtransactions, smart contracts, the Bitcoin protocol to transfer assets other than money, or any number of other new capabilities. When the internet was in its early stages like Bitcoin is now, we didn’t have sites like Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB), or Wikipedia (or Investopedia!). Right now there is a small army of entrepreneurs and investors that are vying to create those companies for Bitcoin.”
As for now, Bitcoin is still mainly used on the internet to connect merchants internationally, but the if and when the day comes that Bitcoin is the everyday, then expect more kiosks from the likes of Liberty Teller.