Arizona’s First Bitcoin ATM Goes Kablooey
Lightning strike stymies Tucson cryptocurrency machine
Is there a deity out there who hates cryptocurrency? To the list of disasters that have befallen the bitcoin economy in 2014, including the bankruptcy of the enormous Mt. Gox exchange as well as the theft of about $2.7 million in bitcoins from Silk Road 2.0 (both in February), add this morsel of bad luck: A lightning strike has taken out the only bitcoin ATM in all of Arizona, less than a month after it was installed.
According to azcentral.com, the web site of The Arizona Republic newspaper, lightning hit the Booksmans Entertainment Exchange in Tucson last week, causing a power surge that fried some of the bitcoin ATM’s electrical components. Owner-operator Brian Williams told a reporter that he’d started operating the $1,000 machine on July 14. “It’s kind of like getting punched in the face,” Williams told The Republic. He also stated that he’d been able to remove and account for all the machine’s hard currency, and that the damage had no impact on anyone’s accounts.
There are only around two dozen bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. at present, according to industry news site CoinDesk, and no more than 140 worldwide. There’s no indication yet of when the Arizona ATM will be back in operation. The nearest alternatives are located in Las Vegas, Nevada and Tijuana, Mexico.