ALBANY, N.Y. – The first Bitcoin ATM in New York is in the Capital Region, and the owner hopes it will give the online currency a little more credibility.
Created in 2009 by an anonymous source, Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be bought and sold in online marketplaces. They can be sent from person to person with the help of mobile apps of computers.
Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet of sorts, which exists in the cloud or a user’s computer, but unlike bank accounts, they are not insured by the FDIC.
The currency is attractive to many users since it grants anonymity – the names of buyers and sellers are not revealed.
Paul Paterakis owns CT@HB on Albany’s Clinton Square. Not only was his business the first in upstate New York to accept Bitcoin, but it’s now home to the first Bitcoin ATM in the entire state.
He says the machine has already processed about 40 transactions in the short amount of time since it was unveiled.
"At first I was skeptical, I hadn’t heard too much about Bitcoin or using it as a form of payment from a customer so, I did a little research that night and the following day I started taking it,” he said.
It was a decision Paterakis calls a blessing.
"We have about ten transactions daily with Bitcoin, which is actually pretty high for a currency that just started a few years back."
Now customers can put more bitcoin currency in their wallet thanks to 21-year old Emilio Pagan-Yourno, who started his Bitcoin ATM business, PYC, at the start of the year.
"It gives a sense of presence that it’s real, that it’s not a shady black market currency,” said Pagan-Yourno.
But the Schenectady native says business so far is going better than expected, and is hoping Albany’s ATM can serve as a test bed to jump off from.
"I want to put these ATMs all around the United States,” he added.
Although some may be skeptical of the new currency, Paterakis says he only anticipates big things for this paperless money.
"It’s like sending out an email, but you’re doing it with money now,” he said.