Kip Karani, a 27-year-old Atlanta-based entrepreneur, is opening a retail location for cryptocurrency in Buckhead.
Anytime Capital LLC will open its first location at 2549 Piedmont Road NE Suite 110 within two weeks. It acts similar to a bank, where people can invest and manage crypto assets.
“With us, we can help older people and those who aren’t digitally inclusive,” said Karani. “We’re making the ecosystem for crypto easier to use and get into, not making it scary when you go on crypto exchanges that are confusing.”
Karani claims that this will be the first physical retail location established by a financial institution completely dedicated to crypto in the U.S. Atlanta Inno was not able to verify this information.
Customers can come into the store and deposit with cash at one of its crypto ATMs to convert their assets into cryptocurrency. The company charges fees up to 12% lower than traditional crypto exchanges, said Karani. Whereas companies like Coinbase Global Inc. may lock a user’s account after substantial activity with a five-day waiting period, Anytime Capital can unlock someone’s account at the branch.
The company will initially offer over 25 different cryptocurrencies and add more each week. It also looks to add debit card features so people can spend their crypto wallet with their Visa credit cards.
It’s been difficult to establish physical retail locations for crypto branches due to heavy regulations and expenses, said Karani. Anytime Capital is regulated by the Georgia Department of Bank & Finance and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, according to its website.
There may also be a lot of apprehension from people to compete with bigger banks.
“It’s just a matter of time, all of the big banks will eventually have crypto,” said Karani. “Maybe some bigger investors don’t want to put in money because they’re scared of the bigger banks.”
The company has eight employees, three of whom are based in Atlanta. Others are in Washington D.C., Raleigh, North Carolina, and Texas. By the end of the year, the company aims to have 2,500 customers and 15 full-time employees.
Karani has raised $200,000 for the company from the owner of Florida-based daycare franchise Kids Discovery. He says he will wait until the company grows to “the next level” before seeking additional funding.
By the end of the year, the company aims to begin the process of establishing a second location either in Miami, Tampa Bay, Florida, or Charlotte, North Carolina. In the long-term, it looks to also have a presence in Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Karani began his crypto career in 2017 while a student at Florida State University. During that time, he honed his skills at trading bitcoin on the trading site
In the subsequent years, Karani moved to Atlanta with several entrepreneurial pursuits. He attempted to launch his own bitcoin ATM business and founded the wellness company Health which now has products in six Atlanta stores, said Karani.
Karani cites the local tech talent from NCR Corp., which holds one of the largest market shares in the ATM manufacturing industry, according to market research company IBISWorld. Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Atlanta expansions could also help the crypto industry, he said.
The launch of the branch comes at a tumultuous time for the crypto market.
Luna, the sister token of stablecoin Terra USD, dropped to $0 last month after at one point being worth over $100. That same month, crypto trading platform Coinbase Global Inc. posted a first-quarter loss of $430 million while its stock was down nearly 77%.
Those drops have come at a price to employment in addition to potentially huge investor losses. Last week, Coinbase said it extended a hiring freeze for both new and existing positions and rescinded some job offers.
Karani, however, remains optimistic that crypto is the future of currency, saying that within ten years, every bank will accept the asset and every form of payment will work through some sort of token.
“Crypto is falling because of a decrease in spending by consumers so exchanges are getting less transaction volume,” said Karani. “On the backend, all the platforms and technology are still growing.”
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