Coinme is pushing forward on its mission to give consumers access to cryptocurrency.
The startup just installed its 50th cryptocurrency ATM, moved into a new office inside Rhapsody’s downtown Seattle location, and is expanding its cryptocurrency advisory services for customers with larger transactions. It is now a licensed cryptocurrency transmitter in 30 states.
Coinme will also soon roll out a new feature that lets people buy cryptocurrency online with their credit card.
The 25-person company is growing as the cryptocurrency industry continues to be a wild west of sorts. Several cryptocurrency prices have fallen in recent months; Bitcoin went below $6,000 last week for the first time since February. Regulators are also putting down their foot on this new form of payment.
But others remain confident in the future of digital currencies — for example, top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz just launched a $300 million fund to invest in cryptocurrency-related projects. According to PitchBook, 179 venture capital investors in the U.S. participated in at least one crypto startup deal in the past two years.
Coinme CEO Neil Bergquist said two recent market trends point to continued cryptocurrency momentum: the SEC announcing that Bitcoin and Ether are not securities, and growth in Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand.
Bergquist said the U.S. is lagging behind in terms of trading volume and overall adoption.
“In the U.S. we’re still dealing with a mass market that is confused and really misunderstands what digital assets are and how they can be of significant value,” he added. “There’s confusion in the marketplace and that’s why our crypto advisory services has grown very quickly.”
Bergquist also said improved blockchain technology now allows for more transaction capacity.
“You’re seeing these technologies that are really starting to live up to the use cases Bitcoin promised when it came out in 2009,” he said.
Coinme makes money off advisory services and transaction fees from the ATMs, which allow customers to buy and sell Bitcoin.
Coinme launched in 2014 and has raised $1.5 million to date. It also organized an initial coin offering last year for the company’s own “rewards-based” virtual currency, UpToken. Coinme uses 1 percent of every ATM transaction to purchase UpToken, which is given to customers as a 1 percent “cash back” reward.
Coinme is one of several cryptocurrency/blockchain-related companies and organizations sprouting up in the Seattle area. There are startups like Unikrn and Strix Leviathan and Merit; a blockchain consulting group called New Alchemy; and an investment group called Reflective Venture Partners that launched a new Seattle-based venture fund with blockchain company RChain Cooperative to invest a cryptocurrency equivalent of more than $190 million in blockchain apps and startups.