An emerging form of digital currency is being introduced to local residents following the installation of Bloomington-Normal’s first bitcoin ATM.
The ATM transforms cash into a digital currency called bitcoins. Operating independently of a central bank, bitcoin allows users to make direct, anonymous transactions with no fees and a worldwide reach.
Daniel Polotsky, whose team runs the ATM in Normal, called the cryptocurrency “digital gold.” Polotsky and his company CoinFlip unveiled the new machine on Aug. 25. Polotsky said his choice to put an ATM in Bloomington-Normal has to do with expanding the company’s reach beyond large cities.
“I chose Bloomington-Normal because a lot of the small towns in the bitcoin industry are underserved,” Polotsky said. “You have like 40 bitcoin ATMs in Chicago, and barely any in Southern Illinois. … And just in general, Bloomington-Normal is a college town. People who are using bitcoin tend to be in a younger demographic, so ISU is great for that. It’s great to introduce bitcoin to students.”
Using ATMs in particular was the company’s way of keeping its users in mind.
“I think that using a familiar model, which is an ATM, to help the average consumer get their cash purchase and turn it into bitcoin is important,” Polotsky said.
The new ATM is located in 707 Liquors on North Linden Street.
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