COVID-19 causes hideous ATM queue. Why not just use crypto?

In brief

  • New Yorkers who want to get unemployment benefits can do that – but through a bank that has only one branch in the entire city.
  • This leads to a hideous row.
  • Could crypto help?

The crippling effect that the coronavirus has on the U.S. economy is only apparent from one thing: an absurdly long queue for ATMs.

According to a New York Times report yesterday, queues for an ATM in Manhattan can take up to two and a half hours. People line up for the ATM because it provides cash through KeyBank – a bank that unemployed people can take advantage of.

And KeyBank has only one branch in all of New York City.

Crypto developers have long provided solutions to these types of problems: send remittances through crypto wallets. This would avoid long queues, save costs and also reduce fraud. Crypto can also be used to provide stimulus controls.

But until America dissolves its bureaucracy – if crypto doesn’t fix it first – people will continue to go on ridiculous journeys and stand in line, without social distance, to get money.

The Times quotes a resident who lives near the Manhattan ATM and says most of the people queuing are “mainly Spanish and low income” – two demographics hit hard by the pandemic.

COVID-19 has devastated the US economy and has caused unemployment to soar. Although it is slightly fallen, it is still at 13.3%. Last month, US unemployment reached 14.7 percent – the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Money can be withdrawn from other ATMs with the government-issued KeyBank debit card, but the costs are high and there are limits on withdrawals, the Times reports.

A crypto solution should probably only be virtual.

Although Bitcoin ATMs do increased their presence with 70% in the past year to more than 7,500 around the world, they suffer from the same problem that New Yorkers have to avoid in line:high fees. Most Bitcoin ATMs charge 7% commission on cryptocurrency purchases and 10% on sales.

However, in 2020, one thing is certain: With so many options for buying, selling and using digital assets, no one should be standing in line all day to get cash – especially during a pandemic.

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