Cowpuccinos owner Judson Rouse demonstrates how to buy some Bitcoin at the new machine in his coffee shop. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Cowpuccinos owner Judson Rouse demonstrates how to buy some Bitcoin at the new machine in his coffee shop. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

First Bitcoin machine arrives in northern B.C.

New machine in Prince Rupert cafe will allows users to buy virtual currencies

The cryptocurrency craze has found its way to northern B.C.

The first Bitcoin ATM in the region was installed at Cowpuccino’s cafe in Prince Rupert this week, allowing people to purchase it and other cryptocurrencies like Lightcoin, Etherium and Bitcash as if they were depositing money into their personal bank accounts.

READ MORE: Cowpuccino’s up for two Small Business B.C. awards

Mike Whitford, a day trader who owns and installed the machine at the coffee shop, said he wanted to make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more accessible to average consumers in the north.

“It’s pretty difficult for someone who isn’t computer or tech savvy to go online and try to find the right exchange,” Whitford said. “So with a machine, people can go to Cowpuccino’s and we can show you how to download a wallet. It’s bridging the gap so people can feel safe about using it.”

A cryptocurrency is virtual money that can be used to buy and sell goods and services online over a secure network. Unlike mainstream currencies, a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is not tied to any physical resource, bank or central authority. Rather, each member of the network has access to every transaction that has ever taken place using the virtual currency, ensuring its validity and security.

The first Bitcoins were introduced in 2009, and the market for them has grown exponentially. Currently, one Bitcoin has a value of $11,099.39 CAD. There has been some skepticism in mainstream financial commentary about its security and long-term potential, but its advocates say it is here to stay.

“It’s basically the US dollar to the cryptocurrency market,” Whitford said. “It’s so strong now that it would be very difficult for it to go away.”

Buying virtual currency, such as Bitcoin, usually requires a relatively sophisticated understanding of the system and a digital wallet, which allows users to conduct transactions. The machine at Cowpuccino’s will function as a Bitcoin ATM.

Cowpuccino’s owner, Judson Rowse, said he agreed to have the machine set up because of how innovative it is.

A few customers have already used the machine, he said, and he may consider accepting Bitcoin payments in the future as the transaction fees are considerably less than current credit card and debit payment options. The money he saves on those fees as a merchant could potentially be passed back to his customers.

“If I were to accept Bitcoin regardless of the ATM, I think it would show people how it could work full circle,” he said. “It’s just another option.”



matthew.allen@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

June Saxe, 2, enjoys the sunny shoreline at Whiffin Spit with her dad on March 5. The family had come out from Victoria for a day in the sunshine. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Warm weather brings Sooke’s Whiffin Spit to life

Visitors, locals enjoy warm weather at coastal viewpoint

Funding requests for the 2021 budget year, submitted by the Administration and Finance Committee, was approved by Langford council at the Feb. 16 meeting. (Black Press Media file photo)
Food awareness, seniors among Langford’s approved 2021 funding requests

New and returning community organizations to receive financial boost

Underground utility installations are underway on Latoria Boulevard at Latoria Road near Royal Bay Secondary and on Metchosin Road south of Latoria Boulevard. (City of Colwood image)
Road work hinders Colwood drivers in Royal Bay

Underground utility installation could run most of March

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read