Today marks the unveiling of the first bitcoin product with direct celebrity involvement. More than a mere endorsement, movie star and former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson has his name and face literally all over this new line of Bitcoin ATMs, to be distributed over time across the country.
“I'm honored to join the bitcoin revolution with my very first bitcoin ATM,” said Tyson. “The Mike Tyson branded Bitcoin ATM at Off the Strip at the LINQ is the first of hopefully many across the globe. I'm very excited about the possibilities."
A public relations spokesperson for Tyson confirmed to Brave New Coin that the champ does indeed own bitcoins personally.
Peter Klamka, CEO of the ATM's producer, Bitcoin Direct, spoke at the event. “Bitcoin Direct is extremely pleased to be partnering with Mike Tyson, the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, to help introduce and promote the use of digital currency by the general public. Mike is a universally known boxer and celebrity whose fan base extends across a broad demographic. People around the world of all ages recognize him.”
“The Mike Tyson Bitcoin ATM should help introduce bitcoin, the digital currency formerly seen as only used by the tech savvy, to the consumer and broaden its availability and appeal to the general public. The Mike Tyson Bitcoin ATM offers consumers a convenient, secure, reputable, automated and economical method of purchasing bitcoin for cash.”
- Peter Klamka
A Las Vegas mainstay, Tyson retired from boxing in 2006 and has focused on his acting career ever since, racking up 30 acting credits, according to IMDB, including the blockbuster Hangover series starring A-list actors Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis.
Before retirement, Mike Tyson became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and to this day he holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles, at just 20 years old. Nicknamed “The Baddest Man on the Planet”, “Kid Dynamite” and “Iron Mike”, Tyson is considered one of the most talented heavyweights of all time.
The machine itself is Lamassu's classic Douro model on a Braga floor stand with a glossy black finish. This configuration has no dollar dispenser, supporting only the ability to purchase bitcoins.
A statement from the event organisers mentioned that “the Mike Tyson Bitcoin ATM provides consumers the ability to instantaneously purchase bitcoin through their mobile devices, and should help to bridge the gap between bitcoin users and mainstream pop culture. The most significant difference between purchasing bitcoin from a Mike Tyson Bitcoin ATM rather than online is the convenience and privacy that the bitcoin ATM offers to consumers. Consumers can purchase bitcoin from a Mike Tyson Bitcoin ATM by simply using their Bitcoin Wallet residing on any handheld device.”
The home screen has Tyson's signature tattoo logo wrapped around the start button, showing that at least some of the firmware on the machine has been replaced or upgraded. Today's price for a bitcoin on the ATM? $250.45, which represents an approximate 7% markup from the $234 price on Bitstamp at the time of the press event.
Installed to the right of the front desk in the bistro, the ATM is very visible in its' new home. Off the Strip in the LINQ is an American and Italian restaurant and bar located on the LINQ Promenade, in the greater LINQ Casino and Hotel complex, all of which is a Caesar's Palace property. Surrounding it on the picturesque promenade are various boutique shops and fountains, all under the shadow of the world's largest Ferris wheel, the High Roller.
The Conexus Corporation subsidiary, Bitcoin Direct LLC, is a Nevada limited liability company with several other bitcoin ATM machines deployed already. Bitcoin Direct’s initial goal is to place bitcoin ATMs in multiple locations across the US, offering a full range of bitcoin transaction solutions to a wide variety of industries including remittance and gaming, among others.
All photos by Denise Truscello, Getty Images