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Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are becoming far more popular as of late, but as this space grows, it is becoming clear that cash is still at the top of the financial ladder. Fiat currencies like USD are the primary tools that Americans rely on, and Coinme – a digital currency platform – is recognizing this. Thus, the company wants to make transfers between both cash and crypto as smooth and as easy as possible.
Coinme Still Believes Cash Is at the Top
Neil Bergquist – the chief executive of the enterprise – explained in a recent interview:
There might be a kind of digital utopia vision for the future, but the reality is a large portion of the market still interacts with cash daily. To pursue Satoshi’s vision of a global peer-to-peer electronic cash system, you need a cash on-ramp – cash is literally in the headline of the bitcoin white paper – but it’s not easy [to build]. It’s messy. It’s more complicated than just offering an additional payment type.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Coinme came to the digital currency space in the year 2014. It was one of the world’s first providers of bitcoin ATMs, though now the firm has partnered with enterprises like Coinstar and MoneyGram to ensure people can get the funds they need. Coinstar operates about 20,000 machines throughout the country, while MoneyGram specializes in cross-border remittances, meaning those working abroad can send money home to their families through the firm’s services.
The only reason we did [our own] ATMs back in 2014 through 2019 was because bitcoin and digital currency were still very early. A lot of the existing financial institutions didn’t take it seriously.
He says that the pivotal moment for Coinme arrived not long after bitcoin came close to $20,000 per unit in 2017. He comments:
After that, Coinstar, for example, saw bitcoin as a potential legitimate opportunity… Coinstar has over 20,000 kiosks globally. It would have taken us a very long time to deploy that many machines, so being able to use their existing infrastructure helps to solve the access and scale problem for the industry, and now with MoneyGram, we have another opportunity to enable crypto.
Some of These Services Can Be Expensive
One of the big issues, he says, comes from the fact that standard money is more regulated. Also, the fees when using services from Coinstar and MoneyGram can be relatively high. He states:
If you want to do a higher dollar amount, MoneyGram can be less expensive [than Coinstar], but it really depends on the convenience of the location and the timing… Bitcoin is volatile and being able to transact at the time you want to transact seems to be the primary motivation [for customers].
Coinme says it is looking to “invest heavily” in both Central and South America during the first quarter of 2022.