Hey everyone. Back in mid December I had a Bitcoin ATM put in my shop and posted the great news to the sub. It was well received before I guess the ATM posts started being looked upon as played out.
In the comments I mentioned that if you guys wanted, I would be more than happy to post some stats on how well the ATM was doing. I’ll have you know I did some super diligent tracking the first month, but then afterwards it was looking as though I found a buyer for the shop and my priorities shifted. I don’t have those hard numbers right now and I’ll explain why at the end, but here’s the general idea of how these ATM’s do in the day-to-day…
- Almost everyone has heard of bitcoin, almost everyone has no idea what it’s about or how it works.
In the beginning a lot of people asked about the ATM. I told them it was for bitcoin and I even tallied if I deemed it to be a positive, negative, or indifferent reaction. Most people were indifferent. There were a handful of negative reactions, and after probing it turns out they either sold their bags long ago in a correction, or sold at what they thought was the top. A notable interaction I had with some customers was this pair of women who were young and looked/talked like the last sort of person you would imagine talking about BTC. When they opened up on it? Wow. They basically had the kind of mini debate on the topic that was extremely insightful on the base level. The kind of back and forth you would find even on here when relating to the future of bitcoin as money. I was really impressed hearing it, because it gave me hope that the every day person has the capacity to embrace it.
- ATM’s are scam central.
Someone commented in that last post over how popular these ATM’s are with scammers. I was naive in thinking it would be a once in a while ordeal. NOPE. 90% of all the traffic the ATM gets is people getting scammed. Over the last few months it’s gotten really easy to spot who’s getting worked and who isn’t. Here’s the crazy thing…THEY DON’T LISTEN. At all. I’ve tried every possible method. I’ve tried pleading with their sense of logic. I’ve tried accurately telling them HOW they’re being scammed without them telling me details. I’ve tried being on the mean side to snap them out of it. In the last 3 months I have only managed to successfully thwart one attempt, and that was by literally pulling the plug on the ATM. It was crazy. There was this old man…had to be in his 70’s…on speaker phone with the scammer that was telling him what to do. It was so obviously a scam that I was pleading with this guy not to do it. He ignored me completely as he followed the instructions on the other line. Before he got the chance to put money in I unplugged the machine and told him to pass me the phone. Immediately after hearing that the scammer hung up and I finally was able to talk some sense to the guy. That’s it. The only victory I can claim. Every other person thoughtfully listened to me and proceeded to feed the machine anyways. What’s worse is how they ALWAYS say they’re gonna try it once just to see and they won’t be back….and they ALWAYS come back. The most common victim is older men in their 40’s-60’s, all helping their out of country/state girlfriends that they have never met. Other notable scams are the put x amount in and get double back, pay x amount for the supplies you need for this new job you’re starting, and the ever popular bail bondsmen/IRS payment to avoid arrest (that was the old old guy’s scam). It’s so frustrating that now, when a new one comes in, I’ll tell them that if they don’t listen to my advice, that i will not lift a finger to help them in any way. Doesn’t matter….they just keep coming back in as the scammer slowly juices them.
-There is hope
While the majority are love sick men that throw their money away until they’re broke/fed up, there are SOME people that get it. They don’t put in much, but they put some in every chance they get. I even have 2 or 3 people that understand exactly what bitcoin is and put some serious money in. Interestingly enough, the majority of the ones that get it and are using the ATM how it’s meant are women. I help these people in every way i can, making suggestions and giving tips where applicable. Also, the simple presence of the bitcoin has its own affect. People see that it’s not just some thing they see sometimes on the news. It’s in their face and out in the real world. It’s sparked conversations with people that simply needed a tiny push to believe it’s not going anywhere. I even got one lady to buy a full bitcoin (i can only hope she listened to my advice on holding strong, because it was before the major correction a few weeks back)
Conclusion- These ATM’s and how they’re used show a clear sign that to the everyday public, we are nowhere near close to mass adoption. But they are getting used, and every day it’s in my store, it shows the everyday public where the future is heading. Unfortunately I don’t have those hard numbers for you because as of yesterday, my business was closed by the health dept due to COVID-19 (Smoke shops are not considered essential). Sure, I could go back into the store and get those numbers, but I got much bigger things on my plate to worry about. My landlord has chosen to stay silent and use the property manager as a buffer to give vague answers as to what I’m liable for. As of today still no word. So yeah…kinda mega screwed for who knows how long in how I’m going to pay my bills. That is, unless of course I want to sink myself in debt with some SBA loan that will take far too long to even hope getting approved for (I tried applying for one when i opened over 8 years ago and the process took months, only to be declined). Now that I am ripe with free time, I figured i would take some of it to finally give some of you the info I promised. Be safe out there and wish me luck in not going under. If you have any other questions i’m more than happy to answer in the comments.