Press Releases & Blogs

George R. Brown CC first site in Houston to dispense bitcoin

Houston • Dec. 10, 2014

HOUSTON - Bitcoin, also known as virtual currency or cryptocurrency, is seen by some as the Next Big Thing. Are you ready for future of global currency?

If you are, the first place in Houston – and currently the only convention center in the world – to offer access to digital money is the George R. Brown Convention Center.

A CoinVault ATM has been installed on the second level of the GRB, near the convention center’s popular Starbucks location.

Bitcoin, the most widely used and well known form of cryptocurrency, is a decentralized digital money system that is distributed worldwide. Unlike traditional currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, bitcoin is issued without any central authority.

"The George R. Brown is enormously proud to be an early adopter in this important new global technology, leading the way for other conventions centers throughout the world," said Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First Corporation, the parent organization that manages Houston’s downtown convention center.

"We are not doing this as a money-maker; this is revenue neutral," Ullrich added. "We view this is an amenity for those who visit the GRB."

"We think this will be an attractive option for international travelers coming to Houston. Exchange-rate conversions for those seeking U.S. dollars can be done automatically at our bitcoin ATM.

"There will be no need to carry large amounts of hard currency during travel. Pick up your funds when you arrive in Houston."

Mark Goldberg, assistant general counsel for Houston First, says the presence of a bitcoin ATM in a prominent downtown location sends an important signal to the local community, too.

"Whether one is an early adopter of bitcoin or a newcomer to this technology seeking a safer way to make international and online transactions, Houstonians will only benefit from the installation of this ATM," Goldberg said.

The list of merchants that accept bitcoin as a payment form is expanding. Among the household names that accept digital payment are Dell and PayPal. You can donate bitcoin to United Way. Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott accepted bitcoin during his campaign this year.