Thirty-three-year old real estate investor and Chicago native Gabe Holmes runs his own consulting business, helping companies with various tasks such as software testing, mobile app development, and writing code. But his passion is cryptocurrency, something he’s been trading for a few years. Recently, he doubled down on one of his preferred cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, by investing in the Bitbox ATM business opportunity.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Holmes about what has drawn him to the cryptocurrency industry and why African Americans should take a much closer look.
BE: Gabe, I was excited to speak with you, because while we hear a lot about cryptocurrency investing and trading, currently there are not a lot of formal opportunities to monetize it in this early development. So, let’s start with what drew you to this sector?
Holmes: I‘ve been following cryptocurrency since late 2016, early 2017. I was drawn to the decentralized nature of bitcoin, after struggling through the 2008 financial crisis. When compared to the traditional stock market, I liked that cryptocurrency didn’t adhere to the same guidelines as the stock market–such as caps on trading when the market hits a certain low or high. I liked the freedom of that, and I like that it is more of a global currency as opposed to the U.S. Dollar (USD). Bitcoin can be traded and sent 24×7 without having to deal with third-party vendors such as MoneyGram–that have established business hours, high fees, and can have strict identification requirements.
Why did you decide to add the Bitbox ATM business to your portfolio in addition to trading?
I’m always looking for ways to increase my bottom line. With all that I have on my plate, I knew it would have to be something that required little to no time on my part. That perfectly describes Bitbox ATM.
The business is 100% passive. Once you purchase the machines, Bitbox leverages their location expertise to place the machines, install, maintain, and even collect the cash when needed. As an investor, I can log into their proprietary portal platform to control the machine and view my bitcoin transaction activity and profits. In fact, I live in Chicago and my machines are in Houston.
Well, that’s certainly a passive business when you’re not even in the same state! What makes a good location for a Bitbox ATM and what exactly do users do with the Bitcoins?
There are a lot of great locations for Bitbox ATM’s. It doesn’t tend to be where people would think–like on Wall Street. One of my machines is located in a smoke shop, the other in a West African restaurant–just like USD ATM’s high traffic areas that have easy access to expressways or active retail shopping destinations.
In terms of what Bitcoin buyers do with the currency, for now, it’s mainly about investing. Similar to the stock market, the average investor can choose to make a one-time purchase or a recurring amount of bitcoin, say weekly or monthly, and it goes into a digital wallet the investor creates. You can buy just a fraction of one bitcoin if that’s what you can afford. If you believe in cryptocurrency, you are betting on the fact that it will become a widely accepted global currency and buying it now when the cost is relatively low, will pay off in the future. You can also trade it, and there are some retailers (mostly online) that do accept it as a form of payment. But most investors see it as “stored value,” a way to hedge your bet against what happens in the stock market. Some experts advise having 1% of your net worth in cryptocurrency. It’s been reported that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, buys $10,000 worth of bitcoin every week. I take my queue from him–I’d rather spend USD than bitcoin right now (laughing).
For someone interested in the Bitbox ATM business opportunity, what should they expect in terms of investment and revenues?
I believe for two machines, you’re looking at around a $42,000 investment. Between those two ATMs, you should anticipate $10,000 to $20,000 in cash transactions per month, 20% of that will be fees, which go to the investor. A small percentage of that goes to the owner of the location where the machine resides, and a small percentage to the Bitbox ATM operations for managing the entire business. Just like any business, though, it takes a little time in the beginning. I purchased my two machines in September 2019. They were placed pretty quickly and, because Bitbox has a robust marketing program, I started seeing traffic shortly after placement. People that purchase bitcoins tend to be regimented about it, so now I am able to anticipate when a transaction is going to hit.
Have you had any unexpected challenges with the business?
For sure: coronavirus! However, because one of my machines is in a smoke shop, which has been deemed essential, I’ve really seen no interruption there. The West African restaurant was shut down when the virus first hit, but now it’s back open. Other than that, it has gone pretty much as planned.
What’s the future hold for your Bitbox ATM empire and what advice do you have for someone that may be interested in investing?
While I’m not sure I would go so far as to call it an empire, I am currently saving to purchase four additional machines. I really love the uniqueness of the business and being an early adopter. I’m also proud to double down in an industry I really believe in. I made the money to purchase my Bitbox ATM’s by trading cryptocurrency. So, I’m putting that money back into something I’m committed to.
As for advice, you really don’t need to know much about cryptocurrency or bitcoin to own Bitbox ATMs because they literally do everything for you. But I would recommended doing some research on the industry you’re investing in, looking at historical trends, and what prices it trades at. I would say go so far as to create a digital wallet and purchase a small amount, just so you know what the experience is like and you can explain your business better. If you’re part of the cryptocurrency community, you want to both understand and help build belief.