It didn't come with a bang, a flash of light or a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger, so many residents may not have noticed the future arrived in Kamloops.
For over a month now the Fox'n Hounds Pub has had the ability to payout cryptocurrency investors, as hosts for the city's second Bitcoin ATM. (The first was at the now-closed Liquid Nutrition, near Thompson Rivers University.)
The vending machine allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with ease, and despite where you may think Kamloops ranks on the technologically advanced scale, the company that owns the machine says the city was a natural fit.
"Initially, a lot of people wondered if a Bitcoin machine would work in the Okanagan region, and as soon as we put it there, it became one of the top performers in the fleet," says Luis Tazos of HoneyBadger. "It turns out it's a very hot spot for Bitcoin machines. We already have two in Kelowna where we started, and that led us to look for places in other neighbouring cities."
Indicative of how cryptocurrencies are a very recent trend, HoneyBadger started in August 2016, and is already the largest machine operator in the country, with 50 ATMs across Canada.
Why they selected Fox'n Hounds as their home base was just a matter of knowing the right people.
"We've looked for a few locations in the area, and it turned out that one of the guys who referred locations to us knew Al (Deacon) personally. We started talking, we thought it would be a good idea, and he has a very nice place, so we decided to put the machine there," says Tazos.
Deacon himself admits he doesn't know much about the machine, but the pub does receive money for the machine to be there. Fox'n Hounds staff say they haven't noticed many users fo far, but Tazos is confident the machine will perform well.
"We know that it's going to work because when we had a machine in Kelowna, people would drive all the way from Kamloops to complete transactions there," he says.
The company won't officially start examining transaction numbers for Kamloops for another few weeks, he adds.
HoneyBadger is also looking to get into other nearby markets, like Penticton and Prince George, because the area is a "very hot spot for Bitcoin."
Bitcoin is the most popular brand of cryptocurrency, a digital currency that allows you to buy and sell goods without the use of traditional financial institutions. Bitcoin gained international attention after its price soared in 2017: the value of one coin was $1,371 to start the year, and it ended the year valued at over $17,000. The price is currently back down to around $10,000.
To learn more about Bitcoin, visit https://www.badgercoin.com/faq/.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the Fox'n Hounds Pub was the first location for a Bitcoin ATM in Kamloops. It's actually the second. We apologize for the error.