UpToken: Does the Future Lie in Crypto ATMs?

A crypto ATM on every corner, worldwide.

This is UpToken’s motto. Lauded by blockchain engineer and ICO inventor J.R. Willett as “The Perfect Token Sale”, we take a closer look at the vision behind this ambitious new project.

Cryptocurrency: To Use or to Hodl

The idea behind cryptocurrency and the blockchain is not owned by any individual or group. There is no central organization, and there is no ultimate authority.

Nakamoto breathed life into what was to become the biggest revolution many would see in their lifetime. But ever since his white paper first made its way onto the internet, cryptocurrency has been shaping itself as it progresses, driven by the vision and agendas of multiple sources and forces. This includes the general public, who are fiscally invested in the development of crypto.

While currencies the likes of bitcoin was dreamed up as an alternate currency, the current trend is to have and hodl. With the market value rising seemingly daily (US$7,408.41, at time of writing), many investors conclude that it makes little sense to use it when hanging on to your limited-supply coins will be more valuable in the long run.

Cryptocurrency in Daily Life

We’re a far way off from walking into your nearest supermarket and using your bitcoin to buy a bottle of water. Bitcoin may win a preplanned race, and yes, there are pioneers around the globe who use cryptocurrency for paying their phone bill instead of just staring at the numbers on their desktop wallets or exchange trade clients.

But awareness is still minimal, adoption is very low, and processing speeds are limiting. This is not doom and gloom proof of ‘why crypto doesn’t work’, but merely the growing pains of an emerging new branch of the global economy.

Which begs the question: is there a market, as of now, for crypto ATMs “on every corner, worldwide”? Coinme says yes.

Crypto ATMs: Where Are We?

In 2013, the crypto world said hello to Robocoin at Vancouver’s Waves Coffee House. The world’s first publicly available cryptocurrency ATM was officially in use. Since then, it’s grown to a total of 1,763 ATMs worldwide, spread across 58 countries (Coin ATM Radar stats at press time) including 23 in Australia (according to FindBitcoinATM).

Bitcoin ATM installation stats

The US, where Coinme is based, is in the lead, with a total of 1,090 ATMs spread across the country. Coinme currently owns 39 of these.

Bitcoin ATMs in the USA

These numbers, of course, are still a long way off from seeing a crypto ATM on every corner. But the way is being paved.

The Perfect Partnership

By marrying a cryptocurrency token with a crypto ATM, Coinme believes they are investing in a natural fit. After all, if crypto is there to be used, then what better incentive than to offer clients a reward-based token for using it?

Coinme

Coinme was the first Bitcoin ATM operator in the USA and has been operating across the US since 2014. Coinme is an end-to-end organisation that both produces and operates their own ATMs, making them all-in on the spread of crypto ATMs around the globe. Their mission statement is to “humanize the power of blockchain technology by providing the most accessible, secure and user-friendly solution for exchanging digital currencies around the world.”

According to Coinme co-founder and CEO Neil Bergquist:

“We believe money should be accessible everywhere, and our mission is to help the world gain access to virtual currency through the necessary financial infrastructure. With UpToken, we aspire to put a crypto ATM on every corner.”

Across crypto ATM operators, however, high service fees remain a concern that is as yet to be adequately addressed. In some countries, there are also regulatory concerns. It’s worth noting, of course, that traditional ATM fees are also at an all-time high, according to a 2017 Bankrate survey.

Average ATm Fees Stats

Coinme believes their introduction of UpToken will be a game changer, as far as widespread adoption and decreased fees are concerned.

UpToken

With UpToken, Coinme introduces a new crypto asset concept that speaks to the pain points users currently face.

With UpToken, Coinbase ATM users will receive:

  • 1 percent “cash back”: For every transaction, users will receive 1 percent worth of UpToken (current UpToken market prices dependent).
  • 30 percent discount: When a user opts to pay the service fee in UpToken, a 30 percent discount applies.
  • Voting rights: UpToken will afford users the ability to vote for which cryptocurrencies should be added to the ATM service during voting auctions (bitcoin is the only accepted crypto at present, with ethereum soon to follow).

10 billion UpTokens have been created, and up to 8 billion are available during the crowdsale that is currently running until November 17 (a 10% discount applies until November 10). CoinMe will hold a 25 percent equivalent of what was sold during the sale, and any unsold tokens will be destroyed.

The crowdsale is accessible on the UpToken website. Interested parties can send any amount over the minimum contribution to buy UpTokens.

Why Crypto ATMs Are Important

In the digital age, ATMs can seem old hat. In the age of digital money, it’s easy to think that crypto ATMs are akin to walking into tomorrow wearing yesterday’s shoes. But Willet believes that the future of the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency lies in crypto ATMs:

This really pushes crypto assets/crypto economy to new audiences and opens that gateway to people who will learn about Bitcoin perhaps just by walking in the mall and seeing the Bitcoin ATM.

Many people feel threatened by the technology and even the financial jargon and action steps that come with acquiring cryptocurrency via an exchange. Crypto ATMs afford them the opportunity to buy in without the need of an often steep learning curve. Instead, by offering an “in” to a new industry via a familiar doorway, cryptocurrencies can spread more easily.

The UpToken white paper reflects Willett’s sentiment:

A global network of crypto ATMs can significantly help spread the adoption of cryptocurrencies because they provide easy access to secure, physical portals for buying, selling and transmitting crypto assets.

We’re nowhere close to mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies, especially as an everyday transactional currency. But thanks to expansion acceleration projects such as UpToken and the Bitcoin ATM Project, we might just get there one day.

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