Bitcoin ATM Unveiled at George R. Brown Convention Center

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Houston, TX – If Bitcoin is part of the future of international business travel, the George R. Brown (GRBCC) Convention Center in Houston is ready. The GRBCC unveiled the city’s first Bitcoin ATM on December 10 near the popular Starbucks stand, a familiar landmark for trade show attendees.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically rather than printed like dollars and euros. Backers say it sidesteps middleman banks and credit card fees. It caters mainly to transactions between individuals, but online retailers have recently started to enter the Bitcoin world.

Proponents of the Bitcoin concept call it the wave of the future and say it will become a common tool in major private business transactions. Opponents say it is prone to erratic fluctuations in value and is not yet accepted by many merchants.  The fact that Bitcoin is issued and distributed without any central authority — and has no regulation — is seen as both a plus to backers and a minus to critics.

“The George R. Brown Convention Center is enormously proud to be an early adopter in this important new global technology, leading the way for other convention centers throughout the world,” said Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First Corporation, the parent organization that manages the GRBCC.  “We are not doing this as a money-maker; this is revenue neutral,” she said.

Mark Goldberg, Houston First’s assistant general counsel, noted, “We think this will be an attractive option for international travelers coming to Houston. There will be no need to carry large amounts of hard-currency during travel.”

Bitcoin Brands, Inc. has been expanding the network of Bitcoin ATM kiosks around the U.S. This week, the company said it expected to install 10 new machines in the First Quarter of 2015.

Reach GRB CEO Luther Villagomez at (713) 853-8000 or luther.villagomez@houstonfirst.com