Behind the Doritos and Herr's chips inside a Sunoco in East Lampeter Township is a mysterious car.
It looks like a normal ATM, but those who try to use it to withdraw money from their bank account will not have much luck.
"I do not know anything, to be honest," said store manager Bill Singh while he was behind the register on Thursday morning. Singh only knows that he gets $ 200 a month to house the car, which sits between two gaming terminals near the store entrance.
It is a bitcoin ATM – the only one in Lancaster County, according to the Coin ATM Radar site. And it is the last sign that the cryptocurrency, despite the recent fall, has not yet disappeared.
Cryptocurrencies – such as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum – exploded in popularity between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, as people hoping to get rich quickly invested in the digital currency. But this year the cryptographic bubble broke out.
According to bitcoin.com, the price of bitcoin, which peaked at $ 19.347 in December 2017, is Thursday 3,669 on Thursday afternoon. Litecoin, which was $ 358 per coin, costs $ 28. Ethereum, $ 1,385 in January, is $ 119.
The remains of the bitcoin boom are now spread across the nation in the form of ATMs, which can be used to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin Radar ATM says there are over 4,100 of such machines nationwide.
Frequently asked questions about Bitcoin
What is a bitcoin? A decentralized digital token used for the purchase of items, trading or investment.
How do I buy it? Through a bitcoin ATM or a portfolio manager of online cryptocurrencies like Coinbase.
Where can I find a bitcoin ATM? Through an interactive online map managed by Coin ATM Radar.
What are the disadvantages? Cryptocurrency prices are highly volatile. Similar to a security, there is a broad risk-return ratio.
The only bitcoin ATM of Lancaster, which is owned by a company called Black Frog Blockchain Ventures LLC, allows users to buy bitcoins and litecoins. According to Singh, it has not been used much since he arrived three months ago.
"He is not so busy," he said, adding that perhaps "it's too new here in Lancaster".
Singh said that he is actually trying to get rid of it, as it takes up too much space.
Afra Croney, a regular Sunoco customer, said she never used the car herself, but once helped a 60-year-old woman make a purchase.
The woman, Croney said, was struggling to use the code sent by her husband, who worked abroad at the time. Finally he asked Croney for help.
On the side of the cash dispenser is a piece of paper on two sides with instructions, which the woman "does not seem to understand," said Croney.
The experience intrigues Croney to invest perhaps in bitcoins.
"I could try to invest," he said. "I have to find out more details about what these coins are."
So what are they? The easy answer: it's complicated.
Even the creator of bitcoin is a mystery, even if it is believed to be a man named Satoshi Nakamoto.
A bitcoin, which is the most popular form of cryptocurrency, is a digital token that users can send electronically to someone else anywhere in the world. They can do it anonymously, because, unlike a bank, there is no central bitcoin authority.
This can lead to problems, as some users have paid illegal drugs using bitcoins through the obscure web. Most purchases, however, are used for commercial or other legal purposes.