Back in 2014, Chicagoland real estate investor Sonny Meraban was in a secret that many people across the country had little knowledge about at the time. The only difference with this secret, however, was that Meraban couldn’t wait to share it with the world and watch it spread like wildfire across the country.
Some seven years ago, Meraban was among the first American investors and true believers of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that has steadily gained greater social and financial acceptance in recent years and has begun to transform investment markets around the world.
The so-called “secret” of Meraban was that Bitcoin is very real, has great staying power and could very well be the future of currencies worldwide. Now, Meraban’s long-held belief in Bitcoin is paying handsomely and his company, Bitcoin of America, is rapidly expanding its influence nationwide.
“Listen, even a clock is broken right twice a day, right? I was like a broken clock then because I was right, but nobody really understood it, ”Meraban, CEO of Bitcoin of America, said modestly. “Our broken clock has finally hit and it now seems I’m right about Bitcoin.”
Meraban was so accurate that aptly named Bitcoin America was rapidly approaching 1,000 locations scattered over the country. Meraban’s initial investment – he spent $ 7,000 on one Bitcoin ATM he set up in a liquor store in Chicago and one that went on to “make crazy numbers” – has grown to the point where his company now has Bitcoin ATMs and Bitcoin tablet trading options in 30 provinces and the District of Columbia. After expanding throughout the Midwest – for example, there are 25 locations in Chicago and 30 in Detroit – Bitcoin from America is now blanketing the East and West Coasts.
Meraban’s explosive growth is in line with the growing trend where Americans are seeking the opportunity to invest in Bitcoin and use it as a currency. While there were only a few hundred Bitcoin ATMs back in 2014, there are now more than 28,000, according to data collected by howmanybitcoinatms.com. Meraban sees his company’s explosive growth as just the tip of the iceberg as what’s to come in the next few years.
“With the regular ATM industry, there are 300,000 custom ATMs, against only (28,000) Bitcoin ATM machines. The room for growth there is quite huge, ”said Meraban, whose company recently donated $ 25,000 to Jambos for the benefit of children in the foster care system in Illinois. “We just got lucky that we fell into that right time zone. My goal has always been to be an easy, secure exchanger for customers to exchange their money for cryptocurrency. That approach has allowed us to be successful and continue to grow and grow. ”
Bitcoin has become a popular investment and exchange options for Americans who do not do business with banks on a regular basis or do not have access to traditional banking transactions. The FDIC estimates that about 25% of Americans do not keep their money in a bank and regularly use options such as payday loans, checking money exchange locations and money ordering services. Bitcoin’s popularity and acceptance has become so widespread that entities like Microsoft, Expedia and the mobile payment service, Cash App, now accept it for financial transactions.
Bitcoin of America, of which Meraban boasts is registered with the US Treasury Department and fully BSA / AML compliant, takes pride in the fact that many of their 200,000 customers through the years were of the repeat variety. Bitcoin of America’s easy-to-use mobile app has a wallet function where investors can store their investments securely. Soon, Meraban and BOA are hopeful that consumers will be able to fully buy, trade and invest Bitcoin through phones, making them the equivalent of a Bitcoin ATM “in the palm of your hands.”
In addition to their rapid nationwide expansion making it easier for clients to invest and exchange in Bitcoin, Bitcoin of America recently unveiled a tablet format that allows customers to have a personal, face-to-face experience with their transactions.
Bitcoin of America is one of only two merchants nationally offering a tablet format for transactions. With the tablet format, customers who may be unfamiliar with the process of investing Bitcoin can discuss their purchase options with a store teller to make sure their transaction goes as planned. So far, that option has received great reviews from consumers who are relatively new to Bitcoin investing.
Meraban joked that the ever-changing technologies around the Bitcoin industry are so active, “it’s something new every day when you wake up.” Now that Bitcoin’s popularity is hotter than ever and continues to gain more acceptance, Meraban joked that the secret for America’s premier cryptocurrency is out and is here to stay for the long term. What lies ahead with the future of Bitcoin may hold some doubts off their watch, but it will certainly come as no surprise to Meraban, one of the original believers of the cryptocurrency years ago.
“I think people will eventually get out of the central banking system,” Meraban enthused. “Why are Bitcoin prices rising? Why does the medal rise? Why are timber prices rising? This is because people are investing in them.
“People used to buy Bitcoin to negotiate payments with phone bills they were owed or it allowed them to go on a site and play some poker,” Meraban added. “Now, that is changing and you have sophisticated investors studying and investing in Bitcoin. They understand that there is a $ 2 trillion market cap and how on earth are they not going to buy in and invest in Bitcoin when there is such a huge market cap? It’s almost like investors have no choice and need to hedge themselves against the dollar. ”
Published April 10th, 2021