Cryptocurrency, which some see as the currency of the future, has had a tough time lately.
After reaching an all-time high in April, it fell. Yet many wonder if this form of digital currency could replace the almighty dollar.
Justin Verley’s phone also serves as a wallet. His cards are attached to the back and he doesn’t carry cash, as everything is in his phone.
âIf there is a chance to use cryptocurrency against the dollar, I will prefer cryptocurrency. Just for the sake of speed, for safety reasons, for moral reasons, and because I trust him, âhe said.
Verley started using crypto rather than cash in college. He paid for necessities like school supplies and groceries.
Think of it like tokens in an arcade room. You exchange a certain amount of dollars for an equivalent amount of tokens. These chips have a fixed amount when looking to play Skee-Ball. With Bitcoin having a fixed amount, the value fluctuates like stocks.
âI would compare Bitcoin more to a store of value like gold, more to digital gold than a currency, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend it. It’s very expendable. It’s widely accepted around the world and it’s gaining more and more acceptance, âsaid Verley.
The attraction and danger of this form of money is that it is decentralized, not controlled by a government or a bank, which opens the door to illegal activities.
The Colonial Pipeline hackers demanded over $ 2 million in cryptocurrency, which they were paid, but to the surprise of many, the FBI recovered it.
âIn this pandemic world, we see monetary policy printing money to help stimulate the economy. Bitcoin, one of its most unique value propositions is that as a fixed supply there will never be more than 21 billion Bitcoin. So people are going there as an alternative investment as a safe reserve of value, âsaid Neil Bergquist, CEO of Coinme, a business that exchanges money for crypto.
More and more places are accepting Bitcoin, such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Home Depot.
âTurning physical money into a digital representation really has a lot of technological benefits in terms of payments and as a store of value and really brings money or value to the store in a digital age,â Bergquist said.
And it is easily accessible. You can now buy Bitcoin at your local Winn-Dixie store through a Coinstar machine. (See locations below.)
âOur expansion in Florida provides this access where it may not have previously existed. Things as simple as being able to buy it with cash are a key part of the infrastructure for global adoption, âsaid Bergquist.
It’s even likely that crypto will become a widely accepted form of payment, like debit or credit cards.
“The concept of further inclusion of virtual currency in our payment systems and processes is somewhat inevitable,” said Russell Weigel, commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
Currently, Florida does not have a clear definition of cryptocurrency or a policy to regulate it, which worries Weigel given the state’s history of fraud.
âWe have to take that into account and make sure that any system we build also offers as much consumer or retail investor protection as we can fit into it,â he said.
For Verley, even though he lost money in the recent crypto crash, he believes digital currency makes more sense than dollars and cents.
âIn most places in the world, there is no difference between swiping a credit card and spending your cryptocurrency. I have a feeling that is an option that people will just choose rather than keeping their money in US dollars.
For those who want to get started with Bitcoin, Verley recommends buying slowly. Remember, as the recent trend shows, Bitcoin is volatile and is constantly changing.
A list of Southwest Florida Winn-Dixie stores with Coinstar machines that exchange money for Bitcoin is below. Note that you will first need to create a Coinme account. For more information on Coinstar, click here.
- 4100 S. McCall Rd., Englewood FL 34224
- 1951 S. McCall Rd., Englewood FL 34223
- 5660 Bayshore Rd., North Fort Myers FL 33917
- 3280 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte FL 33952
- 2000 Kings Hwy., Port Charlotte FL 33980
- 27680 Bermont Rd., Punta Gorda FL 33982
- 1602 Lake Trafford Rd., Immokalee FL 34142
- 625 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island FL 34145
- 4849 Golden Gate Pkwy. Naples FL 34116
- 7550 Mission Hills Dr., Naples FL 34119
- 14600 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers FL 33905
- 10580 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers FL 33913