Bitcoin ATM (BTM) Experience

Yesterday, I spent a decent amount of time chatting with someone on the Coinsheet Discord server about how displeased people are at the amount of time it takes from the moment they buy BTC until they actually receive it (using Coinbase as the example). Instead, there are other ways to get BTC faster, those being with someone selling BTC at or using a BTM.

I tried a BTM for the first time yesterday. It’s a BTM made by bitaccess with the CoinCloud ATM branding. I was excited to be a pioneer of sorts, to try and find a way to get $$$ into the crypto market faster than I could with Coinbase/GDAX.

I found a BTM locally and headed out.

The first thing I noticed with the BTM was that it looked nice. Big. White. Big screen. “New Tech”. The next thing I noticed, after I started the transaction and verified myself using an SMS multifactor authentication (MFA), was that the buy price of BTC was about $16000. The real price of BTC at that moment in time was about $14800, a difference of about 8%. I was cool with that, I understand business, I understand that the owner of that BTM needs to make something for providing the service and convenience of instant BTC (well, near-instant).

Now comes the reason I’m writing this post. Unlike a traditional ATM, the machine never showed me what the fee would be. It never showed me that for $90, I would get x BTC. It never showed me that the transaction I placed had a size of about 467 bytes at a cost of 395 sat/B. It never showed me that the cost of this transaction was $27.18. The $90 I fed the machine ended up yielding me, at the time of the transaction, $55.95…a mere 62% of what I spent (net).

A few things I’d like to see from BTMs, to align them with how ATMs work:

  • Show the realtime price of BTC and even the % you’re losing by using the machine. Why not be transparent?
  • Show the fee or estimated fee the transaction will have so the customer can make an educated decision on whether or not the convenience is worth it.
    • Of course, getting your BTC in an hour or so is worth something as compared to getting it a week later. However, losing 30% right out of the gate is probably more costly than the price difference BTC would have between the time of your purchase and the time you receive it at a place like Coinbase/GDAX.
  • Show the customer the NET amount of BTC they’ll receive, including how much it’s worth in realtime, just like my transaction shows.

Personally, if I owned an establishment that could house a BTM, I’d be all over having one. But, I would like to be more transparent honest about it. I think this lack of transparency could be seen as a barrier for most people. Most people want to know what something costs. Most people want to see what the ATM charges as a fee… they show you. This transaction has a $3.00 fee. Are you sure you want to proceed?

DISCLAIMER: I am simply a cryptocurrency hobbyist. I work for no company that has any connection with cryptocurrencies, their networks, or their trading platforms. I wrote this article because I wanted people to know about BTMs and possibly be cautious about using them. If others before me have written about them and given fair-warning, I must have missed that message. Luckily, I only lost about $35 in doing this exercise. Still, $35 can feed a family all day, easy.

2017 into 2018

Lots of new things to discuss as we closed out 2017 and bring in 2018.

My kids are getting old enough now that D&D is something we are going to start playing from time to time. I had such a desire to play when I was young but it just never worked out past a few attempts with both my brother and friends at rainy day lunch recesses during 6th grade.

  • Cryptocurrencies
    • BTC
    • LTC
    • ETH
    • XRP
  • D&D
    • Not only playing but DMing for my two boys – super excited about this!
    • Starting out with the D&D Starter Set
  • Working smarter
    • Less clutter on the desk
    • Less clutter digitally as well
  • Consolidating hosting business
    • Moving off of dedicated server –
    • Far fewer sites to host
    • Save money
  • Teaching online
    • No more driving an hour to teach
    • Not only that, but also going to be teaching 2 sections – WIN WIN!

Are Blogs Relevant Still?

Do people still use blogs for their personal writing? Is Medium the new “it” thing? Or do people use Medium to pimp their personal blogs? I’m not sure. Seems like most people post their nonsense on Facebook still. Seems like a trivial and easy thing to do… post to your blog, but I always forget to do this.

I am not sure why I haven’t done much writing. Even after switching to Ghost from WordPress, I thought it would be easier and faster to do, but I’m still finding it challenging to even think about my blogs.

Miss the Olden Days

I love that I grew up in the 80s, when this was a normal spring/summer/fall night. No Terraria. No Minecraft. No Clash Royale. No Instagram. Nothing of the sort. Maybe an occasional game of Beach Head on the Commodore 64 and a good D&D Choose Your Own Adventure book… but this, bike rides, games of baseball and football and the nearby school, and catching snakes… some of the pastimes of that era. I miss those times. And here I am, telling you all about it on one of the new pastimes.

Ghost Desktop Is Out!

I was pretty excited some time ago when WordPress released their software for desktops after having it available on mobile devices.

I got an email from Ghost today tooting their horn about their $600K ARR, release of their Desktop app, and a few other tidbits of information. Released their desktop app?!?! I was thrilled and jumped on it.

Here I am, using it now. Working like a dream.

Is not having an app like this a reason I haven’t been writing on my blog? Probably not. But it’s definitely an excuse to get me writing today!

Should Apple unlock a dead man’s son’s phone?

I was reading this article at Ars Technica about a man whose 13 year old son passed away. He’d love to be able to capture those prized moments and memories.

I think Apple should do this. I think there should be some mechanism for deceased phone owners, especially if they are minors. Why not create a system where the requestor could ship their phone somewhere, some Apple clearing house that would take are of this… perhaps post all the data on a secure location for them to download or give them the opportunity to purchase a memory stick with the data.

Here’s to Hosting at Digital Ocean

So Alex as well as others I follow have been talking about Digital Ocean for quite some time. I’ve always been intrigued by these “server in a button” systems and was pretty excited to see how quick and easy it was to get a server set up at Digital Ocean, install a Ghost droplet and get cracking.

I did, however, run into a few snafus along the way, but those were mostly tied to the fact that the Ghost blog is still a wee bit immature as its importing functionality is just not that robust. It couldn’t handle my 12 years worth of blog posts that my WordPress blog had, all 3MB of JSON export.

Luckily for me, the kind man, @davidb, at Ghost, was able to troubleshoot and eventually fix this for me by splitting up my 3MB JSON file into pieces that were about 700kb each… lo and behold, my blog is now up and running (here).

Baseball and Batman v Superman

It’s almost Little League season which got us out to buy some new equipment this afternoon. New shoes. New glove. New training ball – a ball that weighs 15 oz. that should give the kids some resistance/feedback when they hit it. Looking forward to this Spring!

Topping off this Easter Saturday, we are about to see Batman v Superman. I hope it doesn’t suck.

Stuttering Bluetooth Audio Fix Mac OS X (El Capitan)

Jaybird Bluebuds X Sport HeadphonesSo, I was watching a video at work as part of my training yesterday using my Jaybird Bluebuds X In-Ear Headset without any problems on a brand new MacBook Pro 13-inch.

I started work today where I left off and the audio was choppy. I disconnected these Bluebuds from my Mac and connected to my iPhone 6 – no problems. Connected back to Mac, stuttering.

So, what to do? Google it! It took a few different results and experiments (I’ll list those that didn’t work) until I found the following fix: reset the bluetooth ┬ámodule!

The fixes that did not work from this page:

  1. sudo defaults write ‘Apple Bitpool Min (editable)”’53 (site shows with ” but you have to change to single quotes ‘)
  2. sudo killall coreaudiod


A-R-S Technica

logoThis article from Huffington Post (I’m not an avid reader, just happened this way) came into my radar about one of my favorite websites of all time, Ars Technica. On average, I visit this site about 6 days a week. I’ve been a reader of this site since it started back in 1998. I’ve even been a paid member for a short time and still own a black t-shirt with the old logo on it.

Nice little write up… give it a quick read. They deserve the love!