Last night in Seattle, 150 people gathered at Spitfire, a sports bar in the heart of Belltown, to witness the launch of the first Bitcoin ATM kiosk in Washington State.
The launch event was hosted by Coinme, a Seattle-based startup who purchased and installed the Bitcoin ATM kiosk, manufactured by Robocoin. Coinme’s mission is to increase crypto-currency literacy, build the local crypto-currency economy, and provide the safest and most secure solution for buying and selling Bitcoin through their newly deployed Bitcoin kiosks.
“Coinme was created out of the frustration we had with the current state of the Bitcoin market,” said Coinme General Manager Nick Hughes. “In order to reach its full potential, the cryptocurrency industry needs more accountability and consumer protection. The market also needs more leaders who are offering education and community outreach. Coinme was founded with the goal of bringing all of those factors together. The kiosk is just the start.”
The Coinme team, including Hughes and Compliance Officer Neil Bergquist, invited attendees to try out the kiosk and buy or sell Bitcoin, and would be Bitcoiners lined up eagerly to take their turn.
One such newcomer was 71-year-old Michael, a resident of Colorado who was visiting his son in Seattle. He registered with the Bitcoin kiosk in a few minutes and then bought his first bitcoins, $40 worth.
“I was surprised at how easy it was,” said Michael. “Although I had wanted to own some Bitcoin, I had been wary of wiring money to offshore exchanges. This kiosk gave the confidence to trade in some cash.”
A Discussion with Bitcoin Experts
In addition to showcasing the kiosk, Coinme also hosted a panel of Bitcoin experts, featuring Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, Will O’Brien, CEO of Bitcoin security company BitGo, and Charles Fitzgerald, Seattle-based angel investor and Bitcoin enthusiast. The panel was moderated by Jonathan Sposato, serial entrepreneur, investor and chairman of Geekwire.
The panel addressed questions ranging from “what is Bitcoin?” to “why will Bitcoin change the world?” to “why is Seattle positioned to embrace the Bitcoin revolution?”
Patrick Murck shared his views about the global opportunity for Bitcoin. “The informal, ‘System D’ economy represents a $10 trillion market opportunity that is largely unaddressed,” explained Murck. “Permission-less global finance using systems like bitcoin gives entrepreneurs the tools to address that market and at the same time help people in the global south create new sources of wealth within their own community.”
Will O’Brien expressed an enthusiasm that Bitcoin is here to stay. “The digital currency genie has left the bottle. Bitcoin will drive much needed innovation in our financial services ecosystem, and adoption is increasing at an incredible pace,” said O’Brien whose company, BitGo, uses multi-sig technology to secure Bitcoin investments and transactions.
Charles Fitzgerald described how Seattle’s can capitalize on this opportunity. “Bitcoin plays incredibly well to Seattle’s strengths. We’re a deep tech, platform software town with a lot of retail and ecommerce talent. And we have no banks.” Fitzgerald, a veteran of Microsoft and long-time investor, is keen to see Seattle become a major driver of financial services innovation.
A Level Playing Field
What made this event special is that it was attended by Bitcoin veterans and rookies alike. The Coinme kiosk leveled the playing field for getting into Bitcoin. Everybody, who wanted to, could walk out that night with more Bitcoin in their digital wallet.
Coinme is accepting appointments for customers to try out the Bitcoin ATM kiosk. Or you can go to Spitfire and use it on your own.
Learn more at www.coinmekiosk.com.
Disclosure: Will O’Brien (referenced in this article) is the owner of On Bitcoin.