Victoria traders in bitcoin watch as their digital currency takes off in worth

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WATCH: You can’t touch it, feel it, or see it. But it’s worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Bitcoin is a digital currency skyrocketing in value. Mary Griffin spoke with some owners, and why it’s so valuable to them. 

Greg Inness was showing his mom how to buy bitcoins on a local machine on Friday.

“Buy bitcoins, buy altcoins. Sell. Redeem ticket. Check wallet balance,” Inness said.  He is using one of the world’s first ATMs dedicated to bitcoin located in the It’s Only Natural store on Government Street.  “There is the QR code. Scan the QR code of your wallet.”

It’s a small purchase when one bitcoin is trading for more than $10,000.  “We just bought twenty dollars worth. Just to introduce the machine and how to do it,” Inness said.

Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency, that is, coins sent through the Internet.  It’s a small but dedicated community who trade in it. And a growing number of retailers who accept it.

At Slater’s Fine Meats, owner Cameron Doyle says the bitcoin transaction is as easy as cash, credit or debit.

“It gave us access to a market, and a customer base that may not otherwise shop here,” Doyle said.

“And if they are willing to spend the bitcoin, we are willing to accept it.”

UVic student Paul Berkenbosch owns a number of digital currencies, including bitcoin. He started investing a number of years ago and is surprised as everyone by the spike in the value of bitcoin.

“I didn’t have that vision,” Berkenbosch said.  Even though it’s worth thousands more than what he paid for it, he is hanging on to his bitcoin for now.

“Because I want to participate in the future,” Berkenbosch said.

“Because I think it’s a good idea. Because I think the potential for growth is enormous. I don’t want to be left behind.”

As their transaction processes, Inness is getting his mother started in what they both believe will be a prosperous future.

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