La Crosse’s first Bitcoin ATM co-founded by UWL student

Julia Balli, General Assignment Reporter

Bitcoin has gained a lot of popularity over the years. Bitcoins can be used to buy items anonymously, making international payments easy to achieve because bitcoins are not tied to any country for regulation.  

“Bitcoin has been a fascinating and controversial technology since its inception in 2009. Born out of the Great Recession, Bitcoin was created by an individual under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto as a peer to peer digital money. A currency not overseen by any government, company or third party. Whose transactions are verified through cryptographic and algorithmic computation all recorded on a public ledger (blockchain) for eternity,” according to Coulee Region Bitcoin Enterprises (CRBE). 

Zachary Daniel, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student and founder of the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Club on campus, co-founded the Bitcoin ATM with Alderson Ott. The first Bitcoin ATM is open in the downtown La Crosse area, yet many are unsure of how the ATM works. 

In order to properly use the ATM, you must have a Bitcoin wallet, which can easily be downloaded on a phone or laptop. There are various wallets to download in order to have access to bitcoins, CRBE recommends some wallets that have easy access to the ATM. 

“How it works is you insert cash into the Bitcoin ATM, take out the wallet on your phone and scan the QR code or put in the address of the ATM, and it will send you bitcoin to your wallet,” said Daniel. 

There are multiple ways you can access Bitcoin. Some ways to obtain it is to purchase it from someone else or buy it from an online exchange. Another way that is often a rare form of obtaining bitcoins is mining it.  

“With Bitcoin, miners use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain number of bitcoins in exchange. This provides a smart way to issue the currency and also creates an incentive for more people to mine,” according to 

“When buying bitcoins online you have to trust someone with your banking information and trust them to transfer the bitcoins into your wallet. Although, with the ATM it’s fast and instant to get the bitcoin and eliminates having to trust someone online with your bank account,” said Daniel. 

Due to Bitcoin ATM being fairly new technology, the founders faced many challenges in getting the ATM set up.  

“It was hard to find someone who was willing to have the ATM installed. We had a lot of meetings with companies who were interested, but Azara was the only company who was really interested,” said Daniel. 

The Bitcoin ATM is now available to the public in Azara Vape located at 410 Main Street in La Crosse.