By now you’ve probably heard of the term “Bitcoin” but you probably also have a lot of questions. Put simply it’s an electronic currency traded on online exchanges where users can buy Bitcoins or cash them out for local currency. Toronto now has its first Bitcoin ATM and the operator hopes it will shed new light on the alternative currency.
They are digital coins you can send through the internet. Bitcoins are transfered from person to person without going through a bank which means the fees are much lower.
Anthony Di Iorio is the Operator of Toronto’s first Bitcoin ATM: “Bitcoin allows me to transfer value between me and you instantly anywhere in the world for free.”
That’s right. you can use them in every country and make purchases in seconds without the hassle of waiting for the bank to clear the funds.
Anthony Di Iorio wants to make buying Bitcoins easier. So he has opened a space dedicated to educating the public which includes Toronto’s first Bitcoin ATM. There you can use cash to purchase bitcoins instead of going online which can be more confusing. And he’s not the first; he says other companies are jumping on board to ease the transition: “We are seeing merchant point of sale equipment coming out that supporting Bitcoin and be able to bring a device into a merchants store to offer Bitcoin as a payment to their customers.”
Rodolfo Novak is the founder of Coinkite which is the first and only payment terminal for merchants, which coverts the cash sale price into bitcoins: “We started pre selling them about 2 months ago and our stock is completely sold out.”
You will find one of these portable payment machines at Smoke Bourbon BBQ House in Toronto. The restaurant started accepting bitcoins about a month ago and it’s owner says he’s already had about 8 people pay their bill in this new virtual currency.
Tony Gallippi is with Smoke Bourbon BBQ House: “It’s great. Any payment that you can accept it’s just benificial to your business as more people know about it more people start using it.”
But users need to know the risks. Trading in Bitcoins is kind of like playing the stock market. The value can rise and fall daily. But it’s still attracting maintream businesses.
Anthony says: “There are actual companies that will cash you out on a daily basis to your bank accounts if you don’t want to speculate and hold onto the Bitcoins that you are accepting from your customers cash them right out.”
If you’re still confused you’re not alone. even internationally-recognized experts who monitor change in payments and secure identity have reservations.
Catherine Johnston is with Act Canada: “When you think about currency. Currency is for an amateurs. It’s like having a car. You don’t need to know how it works to be able to drive it. Currency is like that and that’s why I don’t believe that this is currency.”
For even more information on how to use Bitcoins, a great resource is the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada web site. bitcoinalliance.ca