At first glance, Mario’s Gourmet Deli, a New York City bodega on the corner of West 106th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, looks like a regular corner store.
But inside there’s an ATM that gives folks access to what some view as the future of payments and finance: bitcoin.
The recently installed ATM was featured in a New Yorker piece by Ian Parker, who described it as a “machine with the body of a regular ATM but the soul of a lottery terminal.”
I paid the deli a visit to buy some bitcoin, the digital coin that’s up over 400% this year. Here’s what it was like. (Please excuse my poor photography skills.)
Get the latest Bitcoin price here.
The bitcoin ATM looks like a normal one, but it doesn't work the same. You can't withdrawal bitcoin, as it's not a physical currency, and it accepts only cash.
A Coinsource bitcoin ATM allows you to buy up to $3,000 worth of the cryptocurrency, which is less than one coin. I bought the minimum amount, $5.
Once all the verification stuff was squared away, I was given the option to either scan my wallet code (bitcoin is stored in wallets) or enter its address. Since I didn't have a wallet, I had to download one from the App Store.
Instead of giving you a number, Breadwallet gives you a random phrase as a security code in case you ever need to recover your wallet -- though if you screenshot the phrase, like I did, Breadwallet will void it and give you a new one.
When my wallet code scanned, I could start putting cash into the machine. I inserted $5, which at the time was equal to 0.00130916 bitcoin.
The bitcoin showed up in my wallet after about 20 minutes. When I took the picture, however, my part of a bitcoin was worth only $4.65.
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