Anthony Truglia, founder of Bitcoin-Abroad LLC, is pursuing his dream by installing digital kiosks across Stamford that allow customers to buy the cryptocurrency Bitcoin quickly and easily.
“I think the main reason I got into this is because I feel like there are a lot of people who don’t have access to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that could benefit them,” Truglia said.
Bitcoin-Abroad is seeking high-traffic areas to install kiosks that will allow users to buy cryptocurrency from its company for a small fee and transfer it directly to a “hot wallet” that the user already owns. The appeal for many unbanked people is that while the value of Bitcoin has the potential to decline, it also has the potential to increase its value at rates much higher than any bank account or certificate of deposit. If two people share the key or password that grants access to the wallet, they can also treat it like a joint checking account and avoid the transfer fees associated with services like Western Union when sharing money abroad.
At the time of writing, Truglia has two Bitcoin Abroad locations installed in Stamford: one at the Dunkin Donuts at 310 Elm St. and the other at Shippan Candies at 320 Shippan Ave. He is already in negotiations with other locations and plans to order four more kiosks from his Canadian manufacturer in the near future.
“I like to pick areas that get a lot of traffic,” Truglia said of his selection criteria. “Typically near freeways and certain facilities, like this Dunkin Donuts, people stop by often and in large numbers.”
While its kiosks don’t function as ATMs because they can’t dispense cash, Truglia is similarly thinking about where demand for the services will be highest. He is less interested in establishments with drive-throughs that might reduce foot traffic, while places that might be part of someone’s daily routine are more appealing.
“If you had intentions to buy some bitcoin that morning or day, or if you saw on your phone while you were waiting in line that the price had gone down, it’s right there,” Truglia said over the Elm Street location. “I’m hoping that people in that particular place who are going to get their morning coffee will notice that machine over there, and there’s a novelty, but also that convenience.”
In addition to the machines themselves potentially attracting crypto-savvy customers, Truglia predicted they will offer an attractive passive income stream. While he didn’t share the specific terms of his deals, he did point to competitor CoinFlip, which raked in nearly $100 million last year from 2,500 machines offering similar services.
“You can make between $1,000 and $3,000 a month on average,” he said of the returns he hopes to see from each machine, a portion of which will go to the owners of the companies hosting the machines.
Truglia is confident that current trends in the crypto market are temporary and that there is indeed an increasing demand for convenient access to cryptocurrency among the unbanked.
A native of Stamford, Truglia is excited to start a new business in his hometown. He builds on his previous experience in the real estate industry and as a finance executive in Utah, as well as a deep interest in cryptocurrency stemming from research done in the early days of the pandemic lockdowns.
While aware of the challenges ahead, he is confident that Bitcoin Abroad will do better than the short-lived business he started right out of college. His original business imported Kopi Luwak, a South Pacific coffee considered by many to be among the finest in the world. However, because the production process involves an animal known as the Asian civet, which not only selects the choicest, ripest coffee beans, but also eats and digests them, market acceptance proved an “uphill battle.”
Still, Truglia found the process of researching the product, registering the company, and successfully navigating the FDA approval process valuable. His entrepreneurial spirit turned that failure into an advantage.
“It was a great learning experience,” he said. “I’ve learned that I might have to work for someone else, try different things and save while gaining experience. I knew that one day I would get another idea or see an opportunity and jump on it. Bitcoin Abroad is one of them.”