Va. bank is first to allow customers to buy, redeem bitcoin at ATMs
Blue Ridge Bankshares opens ATMs with cryptocurrency access
With cryptocurrency use on the rise, customers of Charlottesville-based Blue Ridge Bankshares Inc., the parent holding company of Blue Ridge Bank, will now be able to purchase and redeem bitcoin at its ATMs, making them the nation’s first commercial bank to do so, the company announced Wednesday.
Blue Ridge Bank cardholders can purchase and redeem bitcoin at 19 locations across the state, including its branch locations and offsite ATMs. The bank has partnered with Woodstock-based BluePoint ATM Solutions and Boston-based bitcoin ATM software provider LibertyX for the new service. Customers will still have access to traditional ATM services.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are an alternative to conventional currency, but its value fluctuates. As of Feb. 10, one bitcoin is worth approximately $45,000. At the end of January, one bitcoin was worth about $30,000. Since the pandemic’s effects began being felt in March 2020 (when bitcoin was worth $6,000 apiece), the value of bitcoin has been on a relatively steady incline. Business leaders such as Elon Musk of Tesla and Michael Saylor of Tysons-based MicroStrategy have recently invested billions of dollars in bitcoin. Bitcoin is a “dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash,” Saylor said in an August 2020 statement.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the oldest U.S. bank, also announced Thursday that it soon plans to hold, transfer and issue bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for customers.
Blue Ridge Bankshares also recognizes the new focus on cryptocurrency.
“Blue Ridge Bank is excited to continue its evolution to serve the growing needs of our current and future customers,” Blue Ridge Bankshares Inc. CEO Brian K. Plum said in a statement.
“We predict that more community banks and credit unions will demand innovative fintech solutions like this at their branches, and we are excited to be a leader in this space,” BluePoint ATM Solutions CEO Wade Zirkle added.
Earlier this month, Blue Ridge Bankshares announced it had completed a merger with Richmond-based Bay Banks of Virginia Inc., the parent holding company of Virginia Commonwealth Bank. The combined bank has approximately $2.8 billion in assets, $2.1 billion in loans and $1.9 billion in deposits, based on Sept. 30, 2020 data. This ranks the bank No. 4 in the state for community bank deposit market share for institutions under $10 billion in assets, according to the bank’s August 2020 announcement.