Crypto is a complicated game. Understanding it, let alone mastering it, is not an easy task. Many out there are trying their best to bridge the gap between the Average Joe and the highly technical (and at times confusing) crypto world.
One company has shown the path to mass adoption of crypto isn’t as hard as it needs to be.
Localcoin, based out of Toronto, Canada is on the forefront of doing just that through their cryptocurrency ATMs. By simplifying the buying and selling process of cryptocurrencies, Localcoin is establishing itself as a strong player making one of the first steps towards adoption.
The entire process of buying and selling through a Localcoin ATM is just as simple as using a traditional FIAT ATM.
To Buy Coin: Insert cash. Scan QR Code. Receive Coin.
To Sell: Send Coin. Receive Cash.
The ATMs currently support a variety of coins: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and can be programmed to accept virtually any currency.
Not only are they in the business of ATMs, Localcoin is also aiming to create an entire ecosystem that extends far beyond just ATM transactions.
The BLOCK team had the opportunity to interview the founders of Localcoin, Tristan Fong and Jay Pandher. We are excited to share a look into the crypto ATM industry and more.
How did Localcoin start?
Localcoin started in our dorm room back in 2012 when we started mining Bitcoin using GPU280x installed on our computers. Fast forward to late 2016, we were using our own personal BTC on Localbitcoins to do in-person sales.
Wefound that dealing with cryptocurrency sales person-to-person was a major hassle. As an alternative, we decided to buy our first ATM machine to sell our coins to the general public. One machine eventually turned to over 100 machines. We were able to capitalize on the momentum that lead us to where Localcoin istoday.
What was the vision behind Localcoin?
We’vealways been major advocates of blockchain and cryptocurrency. We initially wanted to focus on just Bitcoin ATMs, and provide a simple buying and selling experience to our customers across Canada.
However,we felt like we could do more. ATMs are now just one component of our product offerings. We wanted to provide the public with equal access to cryptocurrencies, especially in more remote communities where servicing an ATM would be difficult. We are proud to say Canadians can now access cryptocurrencies through our online platforms regardless of where they live.
“Buying from an exchange is a headache if you’re not familiar with how crypto works.”
How many ATMs does Localcoin currently operate?
We are currently the largest Bitcoin ATM provider in Canada with over 131 ATMs, with locations in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta. We’ve partnered with some strong domestic franchisers in Canada, where most of our ATMs can be found. We are also in the process of our USA and Asia expansion.
What’s your take on the current cryptocurrency market?
I’mvery bullish on the market. I believe the flush that we are experiencing right now is great for the industry in the long run. We need to consolidate and stabilize before we go on another bull run. The number of ICOs and scammers inthe market has really detracted many potential crypto investors.
Evenduring this downturn, we’ve seen encouraging signs from data gathered from ourATMs. Signs point towards greater adoption from the markets.
What other services are Localcoin providing besides ATMs?
We’ve built an online-to-offline ecosystem that includes our Localcoin Capital retail platform, credit card payments, over-the-counter trades, and Interact E-transfer.
We are most excited about launching our own branded prepaid credit cards. This is going to be a game changer. Our customers can now sell any type of cryptocurrency to us in exchange for a preloaded credit card.
How is Localcoin helping the adoption of cryptocurrencies to the mass market?
For our customers, a lot of our ATMs are really the first introduction to buying and selling cryptocurrency. We plant our terminals in locations that have probably never seen a Bitcoin ATM before. Our goal is educate those who know nothing about cryptocurrency to buy it in a manner that is familiar to them – using an ATM. Our ATMS help educate local communities on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Customers get a sense of how to own and operate a cryptocurrency wallet, how the network operates, and how verifying transactions work.
What major differences and/or benefits do you see between purchasing Bitcoin (or any other coin) via an ATM machine and purchasing through an online exchange?
Buying from an exchange is a headache if you’re not familiar with how crypto works. Exchanges have long verification times, low weekly buying limits, and locked in withdrawal periods. Banks are not very crypto friendly, and will often shut down accounts that have purchased cryptocurrencies through an exchange. Lastly, online exchanges, especially in Canada, are very restrictive in the ways you can purchase crypto.
Our ATM and our ecosystem give our customers a service that is safe, trustworthy, and convenient. Our customers can purchase instantly without touching the bank. We have expanded to credit card payments, wire transfers, interact e-transfers, and in-person funding as additional ways for our customers to buy cryptocurrency.
What obstacles do you see in Localcoin’s future?
We see a lot of regulation coming into the cryptocurrency space. Governments are increasingly worried about crypto and have been looking into stricter regulations around the world.
Additionally, we know there have been a TON of ICO failures and scams that came during the Bitcoin boom in 2017. Trust remains an issue for the community. The whole industry needs to work towards fostering accountability and trust before we can trigger greater adoption.
In your opinion, what needs to happen for mass adoption?
Mass adoption will occur when more companies start accepting crypto as a form ofpayment. There still needs to be some form of utility – and not just as a store of value. Additionally, when regulationand blockchain go hand in hand. Currently there is too much uncertainty and lack of trust in the space.
People will need to familiarize themselves with the technology and realize its potential.
What is growth going to look like for the entire ATM market in the next 2 to 3 years?
The ATM market is growing at a rate of 10% month over month. I think we’ll see theBitcoin ATM market continue to grow at this rate or higher in the foreseeable future. Approximately 2 billion people in different communities worldwide are still unbanked. Cryptocurrencies can help facilitate payments to theseindividuals and communities.
We believe that this is a very underdeveloped market with huge potential, as it bridges the gap for local communities to purchase cryptocurrencies.
What’s next for Localcoin? What other avenues are on the roadmap?
We will continue to expand our ATMs, and are expected to hit 200 machines by early2019. Our next move will be into the US market.
With Localcoin dominating the online-to-offline market, we plan on utilizing our offlinechannels to provide even more value to our customers than just ATMs. We’re introducing new FIAT-to-crypto payment methods every day, and have plans totake our customers digital. We just launched a new service in Canada, which will allow users to sell crypto and receive a prepaid credit card instantly. We’rebuilding an iOS and Android app, and by next year we plan on launching our owntoken.
Localcoin is currently in the process of expanding from their Canadian base to the United States and Asian markets. The fast growth and vision behind the company is agood step in the direction of mass adoption.
Will they better ones to change the entire adoption environment? Only time will tell. But, they certainly are heading in the right direction.
Visit Localcoin’s website here: www.localcoinatm.com/