Whistler is home to a new cryptocurrency ATM, located inside the Pangea Pod Hotel.
HoneyBadger Enterprises, one of Canada’s largest Bitcoin ATM providers, first approached the boutique pod hotel in December about installing a machine, which was completed last week. The machine offers Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum for purchase.
For Canada’s first pod hotel, installing the ATM made sense given the typical clientele Pangea tends to attract.
“We generally view ourselves somewhat on the bleeding edge in terms of where we’re going,” said owner Russell Kling. “When we think about our clientele and the demographic that stays with us, it’s generally the same demographic that is interested in crypto.”
The hotel did spend some time mulling over the decision, Kling said, as it didn’t want to be seen as endorsing or profiting off of crypto.
“We’re not selling investments, we’re not a broker. It doesn’t benefit us or hurt us if the price [of a cryptocurrency] goes up and down,” he noted. “We try not to take any view on cryptocurrency. It was more that we wanted to provide a service and that it would potentially add to the cool factor.”
Then there were the design considerations. Like its current standard ATM, the Pangea staff wanted the crypto machine to match the aesthetic of the hotel’s lounge and dining area, known as The Living Room.
“Their machines were, the only way I can describe it, is if you remember the old arcade games like Pac-Man from 30, 40 years ago, that’s what they looked like,” explained Kling. “We didn’t think it would really fit in. Then finally after a few months they came back with a new machine with a new design.”
The installation of the new ATM comes months after the cryptocurrency market’s sudden and swift crash that saw it lose more than US$300 billion in value over the course of just seven days in May. Kling was clear he sees the ATM as more of a conversation-starter than a machine that will get regular use, and reiterated the hotel doesn’t stand to lose anything if the ATM is removed—not that he thinks it will be.
“There are a couple screws in our floor and [HoneyBadger is] on the hook for filling those in if they come out at some point. Not that I expect them to come out,” he said. “My guess is that cryptocurrencies aren’t going away, but what the price of them should be is another conversation.”
HoneyBadger has steadily grown its fleet of crypto ATMs since launching in 2016, now boasting more than 200 machines across the country. In a release, CFO Andrew Walker called the new Whistler machine “a milestone” for the company.
“As we have adapted our services to fit an online demographic through our new INTERAC e-Transfer platform, we are still continuing to grow our physical presence in every province,” he added.
Unlike other platforms, HoneyBadger sends digital coins directly to its owner after a purchase is completed. Learn more at badgercoin.com.
With the installation of the new machine, there are now three dedicated cryptocurrency ATMs in Whistler, including one in the Summit Lodge and one in the Red Leaf gift shop located inside the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.