A Halifax entrepreneur has created the first-ever cryptocurrency debit machine in North America.

The machine allows businesses to process payments using several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

Stephen Offman, the founder and CEO of the Crypto Debit Machine, says he was inspired to create the product after chatting with many people in the industry who had cryptocurrency, but had nowhere to spend it. 

“I think crypto is here to stay, Bitcoin is here to stay,” says the Halifax native. “And I think that will be the new currency of the world and that’s why we decided it’s time to come up with a place where somebody could spend their crypto very easily without having to go to an exchange.”

The debit machine converts the crypto into Canadian dollars and is directly deposited into the merchant’s account. 

Offman says the Crypto Debit Machine will soon be available at some hotels throughout the Maritimes. 

He’s also partnered with Absolute Travel in Halifax.

Vice-president and travel specialist Fred Mack says that makes Absolute Travel the first travel agency in North America to accept Bitcoin via this method of payment.

Customers can make a transaction with the debit machine by syncing it with their cryptocurrency wallet, such as Blockchain.

“It’s the way of the future,” Mack says. “And you don’t have to be here. So now we can take it, you just let us know, contact us, from anywhere in Canada and say we’d like to go on a travel and use their cryptocurrency and we can set it up and email them the scan, and their crypto is used and off they go on a trip!”

Offman estimates his company will be in 5,000 to 6,000 Canadian businesses by the end of the year.

He’ll officially launch the Crypto Debit Machine at a tech show in Toronto next month. 

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.