There’s a curious machine inside an entrance to Vancouver Mall. It will give you cash, but it won’t take a debit card. You can give it cash, but the receipts won’t look too familiar. With the push of a button it will show your balance down to eight decimal points.
It’s a bitcoin ATM, and it’s meant to bring the complex digital currency to the masses right here in Clark County.
“There’s a whole spectrum related to bitcoin, and all the people I know use it for different things,” said Donn Lasher, a Vancouver man who installed the ATM at the mall in 2015. “It’s like a digital commodity.”
Bitcoin has long seemed the domain of the tech-obsessed, or at least of those with technical prowess. But anyone with a driver’s license or state ID can buy bitcoin or exchange it for cash at the ATM, which is run by a state-sanctioned company that takes a 5 percent cut of the transaction.
“Online exchanges require Social Security numbers, copies of utility bills, tying in a bank account,” Lasher said. “That immediately pours water on people’s enthusiasm.”
So the ATM makes it easier to get bitcoin in their digital wallet, in this case the Coinme smartphone