- By Bruce Lloyd
As Bitcoin crypto-currency values skyrocket, Guam coffee shop unveils the first Bitcoin ATM
Benny Pinaula guides David McConkey through an initial transaction on the Bitcoin ATM
The Saturday morning crowd at Brewed Awakenings in Harmon, Guam was packed with Bitcoin early adopters, enthusiasts and those who have chosen to make a business of a currency that is still unknown to many. In some cases, many present fitted into all three categories.
But an increasing number of Guam residents are not only aware of Bitcoin, but are using it to make purchases and simultaneously as an investment vehicle, since its value has rapidly appreciated.
Brewed Awakenings owner Jesse Cordero partnered with Bitcoin Technology Consultants and Xchanged to bring the crypto-currency purchasing machine to his coffee shop.
USI-Tech independent promoter Benny A. Pinaula says that Bitcoin is becoming a bigger force in Guam retail, with about 66 businesses accepting it for payment for goods.: “As you can see from the front screen, you can buy Bitcoins, you can withdraw cash, and this is going to make it extremely easy for everyone on Guam to get involved in the Bitcoin craze. You’re all invited to come down to Brewed Awakenings and please buy a cup of coffee here. This is a game changer for all of us.”
As five year Bitcoin investor and Bitcoin Technology Consultants co-owner David McConkey learned, the first transaction on the ATM takes some time to satisfy information and security requirements of the machine, but he got the job done and a receipt for the transaction.
When Pacific Island Times first reported on Bitcoin last June, we heard from another Guam enthusiast and advocate, Joey Zervoulakos: “At the same time, while serving as a currency, Bitcoin is a speculative investment, which despite occasional hiccups has been expanding in value for those who hold on to it. “I invested when [a Bitcoin cost] roughly around $200 and now today’s price is fluctuating between 16-hundred and 17-hundred,” Zervoulakos said.”
That was then, but by December, 2017, Bitcoin was bouncing around at values of over $10,000 per coin, making those early adopters happy, if wary of the future.
As CNN Money reported: “Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platform, has gone offline multiple times in recent weeks due to surges in traffic from prospective buyers. Today, Coinbase users got messages saying that Bitcoin was unavailable and that Bitcoin sales had been temporarily disabled. The New York Times' recent profile of the company portrayed it as "a start-up straining to keep up with growth.
The number of people with Coinbase accounts has gone from 5.5 million in January  to 13.3 million at the end of November, according to data from the Altana Digital Currency Fund. In late November, Coinbase was sometimes getting 100,000 new customers a day — leaving the company with more customers than Charles Schwab and E-Trade.”
Financial pundits have offered plenty of explanations for Bitcoin’s explosion in value as well as a variety of scary predictions for its future, but the crowd at Brewed Awakenings was more interested in integrating the currency into normal commercial transactions, allowing ordinary consumers to not only buy a coffee or pastry, but to buy and sell the currency online. That process has been going on for some time and there is some thought being given at the Guam legislature to integrate Bitcoin with GovGuam finances.
David McConkey shows off receipt for a successful
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