Bitcoin Craze in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The recent surge in the value of bitcoin has garnered a lot of attention to the cryptocurrency.  

A new ATM in downtown Little Rock's Simmons Tower building allows people to buy and sell bitcoin on the go. 

It's the latest trend in the evolution of money.

A Little Rock businessman gives bitcoin credit for getting his app-based business off to a good start.

Arkansas Fitness and Athletics (AFA) sets the bar high for its athletes.

"We teach people the fundamentals of how anyone should move," says Jordan Carlisle, CEO Co-Founder of Strengthen and AFA Partner.

Carlisle has been an athlete his whole life, with the goal to stay in shape, and help others.

"I realized I really actually took the coaching aspect for granted and didn't realize how much of a factor it plays in keeping myself on track," he explains.

Realizing he needed his coaches, he developed an app called Strengthen. Bringing the coach to the athlete, over the phone.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday you'll find this group sweating it out at the gym. After they go to their Strengthen app, to further invest in their fitness. But it's what the creator of the app invested in, that enabled this all to happen.

"Bitcoin plays in interesting role in the story," Carlisle says.

It's been Carlisle's investment of choice and it lifted Strengthen off the ground.

But what really is bitcoin?

"I would say it's a digital currency pretty much," says KC Surrett, Co-Founder/President of Freedom Coin, Inc.

It's kind of a like a digital credit card and the money goes straight from your wallet, to another person's with no bank interaction. With the exchange rate at one bitcoin to 7300 dollars, many Americans have invested.

Several companies are cashing in too and accepting the bitcoin as payment, including Subway, Expedia, Whole Foods, Gap, Dish Network and Microsoft.

"People are just finding it convenient, easy to use after they get into it and better than using cash or a credit card," says Christopher Sweeney, Co-Founder/CEO of Freedom Coin, Inc.

Sweeney and Surrett brought the first bitcoin ATM to downtown Little Rock. It sits in the Corner Store and More in the Simmons Tower.

"We feel like this is on the way in and the paper money, the physical stuff is on the way out," Surrett says,

"Over time we've built up a regular customer base that every time they get paid, they come in and put 100 dollars into it," adds Sweeney.

But a question now for many...should everyday families, get involved?

While many say yes, others argue the digital cash is volatile. It rises and falls everyday. 
Despite that, Carlisle says it's worth the investment.

"Bitcoin I would consider has definitely been a success," he continues.

Carlisle says he's seen a great return in his investment and let bitcoin do the heavy lifting. He invested in bitcoin to start a business. Others have invested to pay for weddings.

There are two more bitcoin ATM's coming to Arkansas soon. The first will be placed in Bentonville and the second in either Pine Bluff or Jonesboro.

Links to more information on bitcoin:

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