More than 1,000 bitcoin ATMs have been installed across the globe, and Grande Prairie has the latest. A machine that can be used to buy or sell the digital currency is now in the entrance to Believe Fit. Owner Adam O’Brien of Bitcoin Solutions thinks the payment system could be useful for the community.
“Lots of people in Grande Prairie don’t necessarily live in Grande Prairie, so sending money afar lots of people use Western Union, which is very costly and time consuming, where as with bitcoin you can send $10,000, $10 million worth of bitcoin across seas and it will happen instantly, no slower than an email or text message.”
While there’s likely not many people using bitcoins in the Swan City, O’Brien hopes having easy access through the ATM at Believe Fit will get more involved. For those who don’t know how the payment system works, he compares it to “digital gold”.
“It’s a way to move money worldwide without any fees or with very little fees. It’s also a way to store wealth; currently our monetary system, if you really try to dig in to it, it’s kind of corrupt in the sense that we are essentially owned by the banks.”
Users don’t need an ATM to buy Bitcoins, but it streamlines the process. Once a digital wallet it set up, they just need to scan their code and insert cash. Only 21 million bitcoin will be created over time, and there’s no central authority over it like a bank.
“It’s finite, which means it’s a deflationary rather than an inflationary currency,” explains O’Brien. “I can’t be recreated, which means they will only ever get more scarce, so anything that becomes more and more rare it’s value just rises and rises.”
It’s still unclear whether there will be much of a market for the bitcoin ATM in Grande Prairie. O’Brien says his company will decide whether or not to stay in the city after six months.