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A new ATM in the Spokane Valley Mall is designed to make it easy for average people to turn their cash into Bitcoin. Eventually, the plan is for the Coinme machine to also enable customers to convert their Bitcoin and pull out cash.

A Seattle-based company has put an ATM in the Spokane Valley Mall that allows people to create an account, deposit cash and save it as Bitcoin in a virtual wallet. “One of the things that we really want to do is provide a low-barrier entry for people who are looking to get into crypto,” says Dom Garrett, director of marketing for Coinme, which started in Seattle in 2014.

The company hopes to make it as easy as possible to buy and trade cryptocurrency. While it’s just set up for deposits now, eventually the plan is to also allow people to withdraw cash from the machine, Garrett says.

Some of Coinme’s 50 other ATMs around the country already have that feature, and with the new ATM in Spokane Valley, the company now has 12 across Washington. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that was created to exchange value with others without needing a bank or central authority to verify transactions, and it’s the most popular of hundreds of cryptocurrencies that now exist.

(If you missed it, you can learn all about how “mining” for the digital currency is impacting Central Washington utilities in our cover story from April.) Part of the reason Coinme was founded is that getting into buying and trading cryptocurrency can seem daunting to many people, as there’s a lot of jargon and confusing explanations online, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated, Garrett says. “Cryptocurrency is something that we view as the future of the financial system,” Garrett says. Read more from…

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