Cryptocurrency is the way of the future according to Warrick Jones, cashier at the Chevron on Alameda Boulevard and Interstate 25. Jones explained that the use of cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency ATM machines offer a secure way to conduct financial transactions. “We have a crypto mining machine right here,” Jones said as he pointed to a black box and white tube-shaped object hanging above the checkout counter. “We are mining Helium,” he said. “Check it out.”
According to helium.com, the blockchain technology dubbed ‘The People’s Network’ is “a global, distributed network of Hotspots that create public, long-range wireless coverage for LoRaWAN-enabled IoT devices. Hotspots produce and are compensated in HNT, the native cryptocurrency of the Helium Blockchain.”
In essence, the Alameda Chevron provides connections to Internet-of-Things devices and is rewarded with HNT coins for offering the hotspot. The Helium website says mining HNT is as easy as “installing a simple device on your office window.” One Ebay post advertises a Bobcat Miner 300 Helium Hotspot US 915 for $599.99.
Inside the Alameda Chevron location is also a RockItCoin ATM that allows customers to buy and sell Bitcoin through the machine. To sell Bitcoin on the machine in exchange for U.S. dollars users must have a crypto wallet like Coinbase. The RockItCoin website recommends using their wallet, but the Coinbase wallet works as well. To use the machine crypto owners must also provide a government issued ID and agree that they have not been instructed to buy Bitcoin on someone else’s behalf, that nobody has sent them funds to purchase Bitcoin, and that they are not using the machine to pay utility bills or any government agency. New users also have to create a pin to access funds on the machine.
Once an ID is scanned, the terms agreed to, and pin created, Bitcoin owners use their phones to scan a QR code on the machine. The QR code opens in a crypto wallet to request the transfer of Bitcoin to the machine. Once the request is accepted, U.S. dollars are dispensed. To purchase Bitcoin, users go through a similar process but insert cash into the machine to convert to Bitcoin in their wallet. When pulling out cash a $3.58 fee is charged to the owner’s wallet.
Jones says lots of people use the RockItCoin machine to buy or sell Bitcoin inside the Chevron. Further south at the Circle K on Harper Drive there is a Bitcoin Depot machine one cashier says does not get used that often. The Bitcoin Depot allows users to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin and some two-way machines allow users to sell cryptocurrency for cash. Another option for purchasing Bitcoin is through a Coinstar machine, the same machine that dispenses cash in exchange for coins found in many supermarkets throughout Albuquerque.
On Thursday afternoon the Coinstar machine inside the Albertsons on Paseo del Norte and Ventura Boulevard displayed a message saying, “We’re sorry. BitCoin purchases not available at this time.” According to coinstar.com, one must have a Coinme wallet to purchase Bitcoin on one of their machines. The machine is used to purchase a crypto voucher with cash, which can then be redeemed on the Coinme app.
Although Jones says crypto is the way of the future, it hasn’t quite taken off in New Mexico like it has other places. The website abqbitcoins.com only lists 12 businesses in the state that accept Bitcoin, and David Muscarella, CEO of Urban Wellness, said even though traditional banking is difficult to use for dispensaries, he is still not ready to accept cryptocurrencies.
To find cryptocurrency ATMs in Albuquerque and the type of coins available through the machines, visit coinatmradar.com. If you like this story and are interested in future articles about cryptocurrency, email email@example.com.