What is a Bitcoin ATM?

What is a Bitcoin ATM?
A Bitcoin ATM is a physical terminal used to exchange fiat currencies for Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies. Some Bitcoin ATMs or sometimes referred to as BTMs for Bitcoin Teller Machine and are capable of making two way exchanges so you can either buy or sell bitcoin for fiat at a physical terminal.

Bitcoin ATMs Are All Around the World

Bitcoin ATMs offer a unique interface with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general because of their familiarity with consumers. Most people are familiar with a standard ATM for getting cash with their debit card in countries all around the world. I have used my bank card to withdraw cash in probably about a dozen countries and the process is pretty much the same everywhere I go. Bitcoin ATMs offer a similar on-ramp in that they are something that people are relatively familiar with using and this absolutely helps to bring new users into the bitcoin space.

Why use Bitcoin ATMs?

Bitcoin AMTs often offer a couple of advantages over buying from an exchange or using peer-to-peer services to buy or sell bitcoin.

Bitcoin ATMs are about as instant as they come. When you use a bitcoin ATM, you simply insert fiat and with just a couple taps on screen, you have bitcoin sent to your wallet moments later. This is as simple and easy as it comes in the bitcoin space.

Bitcoin ATMs also typically offer more privacy than dealing with any sort of large centralized exchange. While most ATMs in the US will require some sort of personal information, other terminals around the world offer more privacy for their users.

Unfortunately, the biggest downside of using bitcoin ATMs that that the convenience often comes with a premium price tag and most ATM operators often charge premiums well above 10%. Regardless of the premium price tag, people still use them to buy and sell and what’s even more interesting is that the placement of new bitcoin ATMs is still growing. There are probably even pretty good number of ATMs that are not publicly listed and operate on more of a peer-to-peer network of users.

Where Can I Find a Bitcoin ATM?

The best resource online for all things related to bitcoin ATMs is a service named Coin ATM Radar. Their service helps users not only locate the ATMs nearest to them but also gives information on fees, hours of operation, type of ATM terminal and some other useful pieces of information about each terminal on their map.

Additional Info on Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs are often talked about in bitcoin related news publications. Here are some articles that might help you to better understand how bitcoin ATMs are being used around the world and possibly learn more about the opportunity to operate a bitcoin ATM yourself.

Global Bitcoin ATM Proliferation Nearly Doubled in May 2017

How to Start Your Own Bitcoin ATM Business

Bitcoin ATMs Popping Up Across the US

Bitlish Plans to Open 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs in Europe

What is a bitcoin term that you would like us to further define for you? Let us know with a comment below or tweet us @WhatIsBitcoin.

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Is Bitcoin Like a Swiss Bank Account?

Reason to use bitcoin 93: Everyone needs a Swiss bank account in their pocket.

Since Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been conducting mass surveillance of not only US citizens but of citizens all around the world, there has been a substantial increase in the adoption of end-to-end encryption. These new encryption tools have made privacy so robust that now anyone with a smartphone, has access to more financial privacy and security than a swiss bank account.

Encryption, Privacy and Bitcoin

In March of 2016, Barack Obama gave a speech at SXSW in response to the recent San Bernardino shooter’s iphone containing encrypted messages that were beyond the reach of law enforcement.

“If, technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key or no door..at all.” …“if government can’t get in…then everyone is walking around with a swiss bank account in their pocket.”

But what exactly is he talking about when he says “a swiss bank account in their pocket”?

While I personally believe that Obama is speaking of encryption as a whole, many bitcoin advocates have made the claim that he is talking specifically about bitcoin since it provides many of the same features as a swiss bank account but without the human vulnerabilities.

In June 2016, Motherboard published an article on how cryptocurrencies might make tax havens obsolete because they create an on-ramp to financial privacy that is greater than that of swiss banks. What separates cryptocurrencies from numbered accounts is that cryptocurrencies are completely inclusive of everyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion, citizenship or social class with no minimum deposit and can be set up in seconds with nothing but an internet connection. Swiss banks simply cannot say the same.

Swiss Banking and Privacy

In 1934, Swiss authorities entrenched themselves in banking secrecy when they passed a set of laws known as “The Banking Secrecy Act” which made it a criminal offense to reveal a client’s identity. Yeah, Switzerland made it a crime to violate people’s financial privacy. This is one of the reasons why Switzerland is one of the largest tax havens in the world. According to the Boston Consulting Group, Switzerland is holding approximately $2.1 trillion of offshore wealth (approximately 27% of global holdings).

One of the most common financial tools offered by Swiss banks is known as a numbered account. A numbered account is a type of bank account where the name of the account holder is kept secret, and they identify themselves to the bank strictly by means of a password. This provides account holders with one of the highest degrees of banking privacy in the world. With a Swiss numbered account and the corresponding password you can empty the account with little resistance.

Use Bitcoin Like a Bank

I don’t think bitcoin is going to replace swiss banks and offshore accounts anytime soon but it certainly offers some amazing financial privacy for people who don’t have access to financial services that are typically only available to the ruling class. Bitcoin on the other hand is the most radically inclusive store of value on the planet and possibly the best hedge against global economic uncertainty and if you don’t have any at all, you most definitely do not have a swiss bank account in your pocket. What are you going to do to fix that?

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Do you think bitcoin is like a swiss bank account? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

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Is Bitcoin The Reserve Currency of The Internet?

Bitcoin is the reserve currency of the internet

The internet is a global economy that transcends nation states and political borders. PayPal, Square and other FinTech companies have enabled entrepreneurs around the world to transact business electronically but these services along with all other payment networks are centrally operated and subject to countless laws across a multitude of jurisdictions. What the internet needs is its own payment network and currency that isn’t subject to the same set of rules as traditional payments. Could bitcoin rise to the challenge as the reserve currency of the internet?

Decentralization and the Internet

When the internet started gaining mainstream adoption, it challenged a number of legacy industries that had enjoyed monopolies for decades and even centuries. Among the first industries to be devastated by the internet were media based services like music, movies and publishing. Record labels were one of the first to take a hit when file sharing services like Napster stepped onto the scene. Newspaper readership plummeted as blogging and independent news sites began popping up. TV shows lost countless viewers as more and more people began watching shows made by independent creators on YouTube.

Now the internet is disrupting resources in the real world. The shared economy is turning industries like hotels, taxi cabs and parking lots upside down and it is only a matter of time before robots disrupt the employment of human labor on a large scale. But what about money and banking? How have these industries been affected by the internet?

The Reserve Currency of the Internet

In 2009, the world of money and banking changed forever when the internet finally got its own currency. A currency that is not controlled by the ruling elites or monopolies but rather a system that is controlled for and by the people. Just like media moguls lost control over the flow of information, banks have lost their monopoly over people’s means of exchange. The world has entered a new era where the production and control of money is shifting to the hands of the market and not just the ruling class. The internet has given the world bitcoin and bitcoin is the reserve currency of the internet.

Use Bitcoin

Using bitcoin transfers power from multinational financial institutions to individuals like you and me and the banks know this. The internet has supplanted the reign of media moguls and now it’s time for the banks to endure the same fate. Join the new global internet economy and replace your currency with bitcoin, the reserve currency of the internet.

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We are doing whatever we can to increase bitcoin awareness and educate new users and we need all the help we can get. If you feel that this post would benefit others, please share it. Furthermore, if you feel like educating people about bitcoin out in the real world, start the discussion with one of our bitcoin shirts.

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How do you see bitcoin disrupting reserve currencies around the world? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

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11 Things that Bitcoin is NOT

11 Things That Bitcoin is Not

“What is Bitcoin?” was one of the most searched terms of 2014 according to Google and reasonably so. When I first heard about it years ago, I was so confused as to what it actually was and even more confused about what it wasn’t. Well, as it turns out Bitcoin is a number of things but the more I read about Bitcoin across the web I’ve heard a lot of people call it things that are completely wrong. So in order to help remove a bunch of the confusion, I have compiled this list of things that Bitcoin is NOT.

Bitcoins are Not Physical Coins

This took me so long to understand. When I first heard about Bitcoin back in 2009/2010, I did a bunch of reading and I was only more confused than before I started doing research. People were calling them online tokens but apparently there was also a guy in Utah that was minting something called a “Recalescence Coin” or a physical bitcoin. This made me confused when I learned that bitcoin can only be manifested online. Well how was this guy making bitcoins then? It took some more digging to figure out that bitcoins are nothing but information. That’s all. But as we all know, information can be written down just about anywhere and that’s what the maker of these Recalescence Coins was doing. One of the ways that this coin minter decided to store bitcoins was laser etched into the face of gold coin and a very tamper resistant seal over the etching. It probably doesn’t help that lots of tech publications still use images of physical coins in a number of their blog posts as the featured image.

Bitcoin is Not a Ponzi Scheme

I get so frustrated whenever I hear this for two reasons. First because the person telling me this does not know what a Ponzi scheme is and second they don’t understand what bitcoin is. So they just sound like a double idiot. Ponzi schemes are centrally controlled lies to get investors to continually buy into something and then pay the old investors with money from the new investors. Eventually the lie will collapse. There ARE however lots of Ponzi schemes masquerading as businesses in the bitcoin economy. One of the most common bitcoin related Ponzi schemes is “cloud mining”. You buy a Bitcoin miner somewhere in the world and then receive daily payouts, that slowly get smaller over time as the complexity of mining increases. As new people buy into the cloud mining pools, those funds are often used to pay the older “investors” and they think that they are mining Bitcoin. It is only a matter of time before they are found out and their lie will collapse.

Bitcoin is Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme

Yes, it is true that a number of people have made some small fortunes by buying into Bitcoin when it was just pennies per bitcoin but those stores are mostly sensationalist hype and not the norm. Bitcoin as money is a very risky endeavor and should you should take extreme caution when you buy large quantities of it. This is especially true when you are buying larger quantities all at once. It is true that you can make some phenomenal returns on Bitcoin in very little time but if you are going to buy some it is best to buy what you can easily afford to lose. One strategy commonly used when purchasing highly volatile commodities is to use a dollar cost average approach in order to buy more when the price falls and buy less when it rises. This will ensure that you mitigate risk as the price fluctuates rapidly.

Bitcoin is Not a Bank

Banks are an old and centrally controlled monopoly system that are reliant on humans and heavy regulations in order to operate. There are lots of rules, regulations and policies that banks are required to abide by like collecting all sorts of personal information. With lots of those regulations comes expensive compliance which is then passed onto the banks’ customers just like you. Bitcoin on the other hand is an open-source math experiment that allows people to store and transact value without the permission of anyone else but yourself. Bitcoin is not a bank at all. In fact, it makes a number of bank functions completely obsolete like personal checking and savings accounts. As the technology behind Bitcoin progresses, it will prove to render a number of services offered by banks to also be obsolete like securities, bonds and even lending.

Bitcoin is Not “The New Papyal”

A little while ago TechCrunch released an article about how “Bitcoin is the new PayPal” or something and while one of the many functions of Bitcoin is a payment network like PayPal, it is also nothing like PayPal. Bitcoin is far superior to any centrally controlled and regulated entity for sending and receiving money. You can’t reverse Bitcoin transactions and you don’t need permission from PayPal to send or receive money. While reversing transactions does have advantages for certain transactions this opens up opportunity for lots of online fraud as business owners (small and big) can become victims of buyers claiming that they never received the product they ordered and PayPal will freeze the funds until the dispute is settled. For this reason payment mechanisms like Bitcoin offer protection for online sellers from this sort of fraud. All that being said, Bitcoin is more like the new cash or gold; not the new PayPal.

Bitcoin is Not controlled by any Central Authority

Neither banks nor governments directly control Bitcoin. They can absolutely create laws around Bitcoin and black list you from conducting business with their bank if they chose but one of the beauties of Bitcoin is that it belongs to the people of the entire world and not some elite banking cartel backed by the monopoly of legal tender laws. This lack of control is what draws a number of entrepreneurs from around the world who want to harness the power of this new technology.

Bitcoin is Not Worthless just because it’s not Tangible

To say that Bitcoin is worthless is to say that VISA and MasterCard, e.mail or the internet are worthless. Although VISA and MC only transact fiat currencies around the world, they offer tremendous value to their users because they are payment networks. They allow their users to conduct electronic transactions all over the world. Do you remember the tag line “VISA, It’s everywhere you want to be.”? Well there is some truth to that statement. VISA is used all over the world. I have personally used both visa and MasterCard in around 15 countries. I have also had my accounts frozen several times because I was spending money in “high risk” areas where credit card fraud is common so my accounts were suspended. Once in Spain I had my ATM card frozen just hours before I needed to fly back to the U.S. And the cab drivers only accept cash. It created a BIG problem on my end. But Visa and Other payment networks like it do have value because people use them and the bigger the network, the bigger the value of the network effect. The same is true of Bitcoin. As more and more people use Bitcoin the more valuable the network effect becomes.

Bitcoin is Not Anonymous

Too many people think that just because your name is not directly tied any given bitcoin address that it is therefore anonymous. That could not be further from the truth. While, there is a lot of privacy with Bitcoin, it is not at all anonymous because every bitcoin transaction ever made is public to the entire world on an immutable ledger. It would be much more accurate to say that Bitcoin is radically transparent than radically anonymous.

Bitcoin is Not Untraceable

People who think that Bitcoin is untraceable don’t understand the radical transparency of the blockchain. Because every transaction is publicly visible on the blockchain, it is probably the most traceable form of money in the world.

Bitcoin is Not “Fake Money”

As Ryan X. Charles on Twitter wrote: “Money is a form of non-programable Bitcoin that people used to use before they invented computers and cryptography” and he means that in the truest of senses. Money is made by markets; not by governments or banks and that is EXACTLY what Bitcoin is. It is a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of vale for a certain market of tech nerds and other free thinkers and that market gets bigger every time someone new decides to use Bitcoin. If you think you paper money is real and Bitcoin is fake, then you do not understand the principles of sound money. Fiat currencies are printed from nothing at the whim of bankers and politicians while Bitcoin is created by mathematical algorithm.

Bitcoin is Not Illegal

Bitcoin is an open-source peer-to-peer math experiment and because it is just a math experiment it is not illegal (in most places around the world) but that does not mean that you cannot do illegal things with it. You can use it to receive an illegal payment for a ransom or to purchase illicit drugs but you can do these same things with cash, credit cards or PayPal and yet all of these mechanisms are not illegal (Cash may soon become illegal in places like India and Scandinavia). As long as bitcoin is used for legal activities, it will stay legal but if the only people who adopt bitcoin are those who seek to do things that are illegal or even immoral then it will likely become illegal in a number of jurisdictions around the world.

I’m sure that I missed a number of things that Bitcoin is not but these 11 things are often the cause of lots of confusion in the Bitcoin space and I feel like they really hurt user adoption. If you would like to learn more about What Bitcoin IS and the many reasons why you should adopt and use it, then please follow us on our social media channels.

What is something that bitcoin s not? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

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More Smartphones than Bank Accounts

Reason to use Bitcoin #47: Soon there will be more smart phones than bank accounts

Bitcoin adoption is accelerating around the world and soon there will be more smartphones than bank accounts. Tech giants like Google and Facebook have plans to speed things up by targeting emerging markets to bring over a billion new users into the internet economy. These next billion users are going to need a means to connect to the net and mobile devices like smartphones are the cheapest and most common means of making that happen.

The Underbanked

It is estimated that there are currently over 2 billion adults who do not have access to bank accounts. They have essentially been “left behind” by the banking system but they haven’t been left behind by technology. Smartphone usage has been steadily on the rise for years and according to a report by Statista, there will be an estimated 2.87 billion users by the end of 2020. One of the biggest problems with legacy finance is that regulations are perpetuating aglobal financial exclusion. So, what would you do if you didn’t have access to a bank account and you wanted to accept payments online?

Meet Bitcoin

This type of banking exclusion is driving people to alternative means of conducting business. For billions of people, increased access to new tools is opening doors for bitcoin to come in and fill the gaps that have been created by the banking system. Bitcoin doesn’t operate like a bank account at all. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It doesn’t close for holidays. It doesn’t have “company policies” or hours of operations or age limits or require an address. It is the most radically inclusive financial tool in the planet and all people like you and I need to do is use it.

From Me to You

Since bitcoin is a borderless open-source software, it is not bound by the rules of any single jurisdiction. This new frontier is enabling creative destruction in finance like never before. With nothing but a smartphone I can send money from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world without any middlemen. Now anyone with a smartphone is able to spend bitcoin in any number of countries as an alternative to the local fiat currency. In fact, there are entire neighborhoods popping up all around the world that are adopting bitcoin because they see it’s potential to remove the banks (and their fees) from business.

While bitcoin isn’t likely going to become a key payment mechanism in the developed world, it certainly has the potential to become a dominant player in parts of the world where people trust their cell phone more than their government or financial infrastructure.

2017 and Beyond

In 2016, the price of bitcoin grew by over 110% largely fueled by demonetization, hyperinflation, gold seizures, currency manipulation, capital controls and other actions by banks and governments. These type of actions on behalf of the ruling class are not likely to slow down in 2017.

Ease of Access

Smartphones are used to do almost everything these days. You can book international flights, call an Uber, expand free education with podcasts, monitor physical activity and even manage entire businesses from a 4 inch touchscreen. As people become more and more comfortable using their smartphones for all of these things, the idea of paying for things with bitcoin doesn’t sound so crazy.

Take Action. Use Bitcoin

Bank accounts obviously offer utility for those of us in parts of the world with a robust banking infrastructure but what about those who do not have such easy access to these financial tools? How can they take part in the global internet economy? Well, with nothing more than an internet connection and a smartphone, they are now able to tap into one of the biggest innovations in the finance industry since the invention of money itself. Now they have access to Bitcoin.

Join Us

We are doing whatever we can to increase bitcoin awareness and educate new users and we need all the help we can get. If you feel that this post would benefit others, please share it. Also, if you feel like creating discussion around bitcoin out in the real world, we would love it if you would wear one of our bitcoin shirts.

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Do you think people without modern banking services will skip banking because their smartphone offers a more inclusive alternative? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

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Bitcoin Has No Overdraft Fees. Ever.

Reason to use Bitcoin #19 There are no overdraft fees. Ever

If people are going to adopt bitcoin, they are going to realize an organic and natural need for it to happen. Overdraft fees are a problem for too many people across the globe.

Overdraft Fees

Overdraft fees. It’s something all too many of us have had to deal with at our bank. We have our debit card declined or open our online banking app to find that our balance is negative and that we have been hit by the dreaded overdraft fee, or even worse, we’ve been hit by several overdraft fees. This is often the result of a bounced check, spending money before a deposit has been processed or an automatic rent payment that gets drafted from your account. No matter the cause, overdraft fees are a problem.

These sorts of fees can often be alleviated by applying for a line of credit with your bank that prevents the fees while allowing the user to run a negative balance. The problem with these sorts of safety nets is that they often hurt the underbanked and poor because they aren’t qualified for them due to poor credit or “insufficient credit history”.

For millions of people around the world, living paycheck to paycheck is a reality and funds they need and rely on are not always in their account as soon as they ought to be due to several days of bank “processing”. As a result, those with the worst credit and often lowest incomes are subjected to hefty fines from the bank as much as $35 per transaction.

No Overdraft Fees. Ever.

Bitcoin offers a way to store value that isn’t controlled by the banks and there is no way of have a negative balance with Bitcoin because it operates kind of like a digital form of cash. You either have it or you don’t. This is probably how banks should operate unless you opt-in to overdraft protection but that’s not the case.

In 2015 alone, Chase Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo made over $4 Billion from overdraft fees (Yes, that’s billion with a “B”). We all know that banks have a right to make a profit but many people would rather have their payment be declined rather than pay an absurd overdraft fee. What these fees mean is that super-wealthy banks make billions of dollars a year from people who don’t have any money. This can be especially troubling for those mentioned above who are already living paycheck to paycheck. It sounds like a classic case of the banks “kicking their customers while they are down”.

While Bitcoin is not going to replace banks, it might be an extra tool that people start to use along side their checking accounts if the banks can’t curb their appetites for these fees.

Are you tired of being charged money for not having any money? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

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