The future of money is wedged between a churning fountain drink machine and a few dozen cases of Coca-Cola at The Brown Derby Superstore on the corner of Tulane Avenue and Jefferson Davis Parkway. At least that is how Bobby Sharp sees it.
Sharp is co-founder of Coinsource, a Texas company that operates a national network of ATMs dealing in the virtual currency Bitcoin. He spent Tuesday morning (June 7) inside the convenience store feeding $5 bills into its newest machine to demonstrate the basics.
The ATM is one of the first in Louisiana to cater to Bitcoin users, who Sharp said comprise a small, but growing group in the city. It works similar to a traditional ATM, except, in this case, people instantly turn their cash into virtual currency, he explained.
“This Brown Derby just got really modernized,” Sharp said grinning.
Two years ago, Bitcoin captured media fascination thanks to its wild swings in valuation, a growing group of retailers large and small accepting the virtual currency, and questions about its mysterious creator. The buzz has since died down, but techies, early adopters and day-traders continue to tout the currency.
Bitcoin is entirely digital. There is no single source or manager of the currency.