Friday , November 15, 2019

Eye on Crypto: Moving Beyond Bitcoin ATMs; Fighting ‘Tribalism’ on the Blockchain

Facebook Inc. and its proposed Libra cryptocurrency may have stolen the headlines lately, but in the background companies are working to make cryptocurrency like Bitcoin easier to buy and sell by deploying specialized kiosks and simplifying what can seem to outsiders a quite abstruse payment process. One of the most active is a Chicago-based deployer called RockitCoin, which on Friday announced it has installed its 200th machine.

The latest kiosk, or crypto ATM, was deployed in collaboration with the Blockchain Institute, a 1-year-old Chicago organization that is hosting the machine at its headquarters. The organization promotes adoption of blockchain technology, which serves as the underpinnings of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Founded in 2015, RockitCoin has deployed kiosks in 16 states across the country, though most are located east of the Mississippi. The devices allow users to add cryptocoins to their e-wallets or to sell some or all of their holdings.

RockitCoin’s deployments are part of a quiet trend. There are 5,714 crypto ATMs installed worldwide, up 51% in the past 12 months, according to CoinATMRadar.com. RockitCoin ranks fifth among operators, behind Coinsource, Bitcoin Depot, CoinFlip, and number-one CoinCloud, according to the site. Machines are usually deployed in public places like convenience stores and can transact in a variety of cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin.

Now, RockitCoin is looking to expand its product offerings on the blockchain. “We see this technology being used to process payments, monitor supply chains, create digital IDs, regulate data sharing, authenticate real estate transfers, and even create secure voting mechanisms,” said Michael Dalesandro, chief executive and founder, in a statement. “The possibilities are endless.”

In other news related to bringing blockchain transactions to the masses, a San Francisco software company called Unstoppable Domains on Friday launched a domain registry call “crypto.” The registry, which operates on the Ethereum blockchain to start with, allows users to link their cryptocurrency address to their blockchain domain. This is said to simplify transactions, since those making payments only need to know the recipient’s domain rather than his address, which can be quite lengthy.

By streamlining transactions, the company hopes to encourage “mainstream adoption” of cryptocurrencies, it says in its announcement.

“We believe that tribalism in the crypto community is slowing down adoption of the technology,” said Matthew Gould, cofounder and chief executive of Unstoppable Domains, in a statement. “Crypto is a domain-name system meant to be used for any cryptocurrency payment and with any cryptocurrency wallet. Sending money to a .crypto domain is a way simpler user experience for the millions of cryptocurrency users that currently have to copy/paste and type in long addresses in order to transact.”

The company’s first domain extension, .zil, has led to the purchase of more than 100,000 .zil domains so far, according to the announcement.

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