Las Vegas-based bitcoin ATM provider Robocoin has announced that its newest unit will open for business on 26th February at the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, the largest shopping center in North America, and until the 2000s, the biggest shopping mall in the world.
Inspired by traditional urban bazaars, West Edmonton Mall includes 5.3 million square feet of retail space, features more than 800 stores and sees 30.8 million visitors annually. As if this wasn't enough, the mall boasts an ice skating rink, a water park and the world's largest indoor amusement park.
Drew Glover, co-CEO of BitNational, the local owners and operators of the ATM, said that West Edmonton Mall was excited to host the Robocoin unit upon learning of his plans last October, and that the attraction fit with its high-tech focus.
The news comes one week after the first Robocoin machine went live in Austin, Texas, a feat the company claims marked the first US bitcoin ATM, though reports suggest two Lamassu units, one in New Mexico and another in Boston, were operational prior to its launch.
Notably, no merchants at the mall accept bitcoin directly, Glover said.
Behind the launch
The unveiling will take place Thursday at 2 pm local time, an event for which Glover and his team will provide on-the-ground support in order to help interested buyers and sellers.
Unlike other ATM unveilings, Glover reported BitNational is not providing any special giveaways or discounts to the machine's first users. Glover said that the ATM's location had served as publicity enough to ensure those in the community know of its debut.
However, that isn't to say BitNational doesn't want to give back to the community.
Glover said that his own exploration of bitcoin found him frequenting the first Vancouver ATM, and he voiced his hopes this new location will help provide a similar experience to others.
"The amount of innovative connections I made being around these centralized points of bitcoin exchange was definitely beneficial," Glover said.
About the operators
Framed as an investor support network, BitNational views the ATM as part of a larger plan to parlay its "in-depth knowledge and understanding of bitcoin" into various business opportunities.
For now, the focus will be on expanding its ATM network, and Glover said that the mall should provide a powerful platform for its goals.
Glover indicated that BitNational isn't going to be solely focusing on malls, however, as he noted the team will also be searching for new merchant and retail partners in Canada.
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