Chicago has long been known as a trading town. Entities like the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have made the Windy City a formidable traditional financial powerhouse.

Now the city’s growing number of enthusiastic cryptocurrency holders are turning Chicago into a place of opportunity for the crypto world. 

In December 2017, Cboe Global Markets and the CME Group started to trade futures for bitcoin. The announcement was heralded as a big step forward for bitcoin, and no doubt turned some in the cryptocurrency world towards Chicago.

CryptoGlobe reported in October 2018 that a number of eminent trading firms in the city were casting a more serious eye towards cryptocurrency. Some were assigning teams to trade some of the more liquid cryptoassets.

Now as the city’s crypto industry continues to expand and evolve, well-known companies are staking claims in Chicago to try and push the industry forward.

Excitement About Chicago’s Place In The Future

CryptoGlobe recently reported on Coinbase’s hiring of Quito Zuba, formerly of Thompson Reuters, who joined the exchange as Head of Market Operations.

Zuba was sent to work with Coinbase’s Chicago team, who are busy on building out the exchange’s matching engine to connect buyers and sellers. Coinbase Chicago leader Paul Bauerschmidt, a former CME executive, indicated the city had a lot of talented people and an “incredible exchange and trading community.”

Chicago is home to a number of cryptocurrency exchanges and a rising number of crypto ATMs. LLC CEO Fred Grede asserts “that the real center of liquidity in these kinds of markets is right here in Chicago.”

Crypto ATM Companies Hit The Streets To Attract Enthusiasts

A growing number of crypto ATM companies have started to make their presence known across the city in an effort to attract cryptocurrency adopters.

Chicago Business reported that Lux Vending has deployed 30 crypto ATMs in the area since the start of 2019. Lux’s ATMs now stand alongside ones from Red Leaf Chicago and Athena Bitcoin.

Lux Vending, who deployed the Chicago ATM’s under the brand ‘Bitcoin Depot,’ is offering temporary transaction fee reductions in order to attract customers. CEO Brandon Mintz said Chicago was targeted for crypto ATM’s since it has a “very, very niche customer base,” a large size, and a reputation as a financial hub.

He noted the decline in bitcoin gave his company a chance to set up infrastructure to (hopefully) capitalize on future demand.

Athena Bitcoin CEO Eric Gravengaard said his company only has three crypto ATM’s in Chicago, but indicated “there’s a large degree of adoption” that has led a number of industry rivals to set up shop in the city.

At the moment there are around 100 crypto ATM’s in Chicago but it seems the city is poised for yet more crypto growth.

By Kevin O’Brien