SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport's first ATM for Bitcoin brings a new kind of currency to Northwest Louisiana.
Bitcoin is a global digital form of cash that can be stored in an app on your smartphone or other electronic devices.
"I see a future where Bitcoin is used as much as U.S. dollars," said Stephen Boutin, owner of Shreveport Fix it- and IT Consulting and Computer Repair company.
The automated teller machine is at Chevron in the 100 block of East Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, according to online site coinatmradar.com.
In order to use it, users first must set up a digital wallet then go through either an SMS verification or have their driver's license scanned, depending on the size of the transaction.
Then users can insert cash and get Bitcoin.
Boutin said he's been using Bitcoin and accepting it as a form of currency since it became available.
"I accept Bitcoin for my business, but I haven't actually done any transactions with it."
People tend to hold on to their bitcoin instead of spending it because the value changes daily, Boutin said.
For example, you might buy one bitcoin for $5 today.
Tomorrow, depending on the market, that money could quadruple in value.
But it also could be reduced to nothing.
That is why many people just prefer cash.
"The darker piece of it is you have the silk road and the dark web where there's some money laundering, illegal activities that are happening. That's why people are a little skittish about it," said Brandon Beck, a financial adviser in Shreveport.
He said he understands both sides of the coin.
"The reason why it's become so popular is because a dollar five years ago doesn't buy as much as one dollar purchases today. ... With a digital currency, they are able to control that because there's only so much in circulation," Beck said.
Janice Spatiro said her solution is simple if the dollar really does go out of style.
"Then I think I would do ... your debit card. ... It goes through the bank ... goes through an entity that I know about. I don't know anything about this machine," she said of the bitcoin ATM.
Users don't need an ATM to buy Bitcoin. They already can purchase the currency by getting an online account.
The bitcoin ATM was brought to the Shreveport area by Will and Brown Haynie, two Shreveport brothers who act as day traders and operate Bitcoin machines throughout the state.
"I think there is a market in Shreveport. But also, the closest machine was in Dallas, Texas," Haynie said. "So to capture the North Louisiana market, we wanted to kind of put a machine there and see," said Will Haynie.