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If you have a business Gil Hildebrand's software, Gilded, lets you accept and pay crypto, Will Haynie's Pelicoin ATMs let you buy crypto at the gas station

In 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic created a lockdown that closed almost every business in America, the Federal Government wrote checks to individuals and businesses in the amount of two trillion dollars.

Here, on Out to Lunch, we tried to make sense of what was going on with this economic stimulus by talking to a member of the Federal Reserve – the central bank that gave the two trillion dollars to the government. In that conversation, Federal Bank Vice President Adrienne Slack explained to us that there’s not actually a room with two trillion dollars in it. And that, in fact, the money was basically a digital file that the central bank sent to the government.

Now, imagine that digital file is not centralized on one computer in one place in Washington DC. It’s spread out over thousands of computers around the world. And imagine that it’s not the property of the Federal Government, but that it’s available in some way so that it can be accessed – or “mined” - and then traded, by individuals. This decentralized series of digital ledgers is called Blockchain. And, very broadly, this is the concept behind crypto currency.

The most popular crypto currency is Bitcoin. There are another estimated 5,000 crypto currencies in existence. Many of them are currently worthless, but others, like Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Polka Dot are being taken increasingly more seriously as currency that’s used in regular commerce.

This gradual shift that is seeing crypto currency creep its way out of the shadows and into everyday use means that if you have a business, you now have to think about what happens when someone wants to pay you in crypto currency.

How does that even work? And if you do accept crypto currency, what happens then? Can you pay the rent, the light bill and other vendors with it? The answer to those questions is now yes, thanks to a New Orleans based software company called Gilded.

Gilded is designed to integrate digital currencies into a company’s existing accounting processes. They call themselves “your blockchain back-office solution.”

The CEO of Gilded is Gil Hildebrand.

According to Coinbase – which is the most popular online place to buy Bitcoin and some other crypto currencies – about 11% of Americans own some amount of Bitcoin. If you’re one of the 89% of people who doesn’t own any Bitcoin, you might be wondering how you can get into the Bitcoin market.

If you’re not a wonky finance person, a day trader, or someone who gets to spend an inordinate amount of time online researching cryptocurrency, there’s now a way for you to get into the crypto world too.

In Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, you can find kiosks that look like ATM machines where you can buy and sell Bitcoin. These crypto ATM machines are the product of a company called Pelicoin.

Pelicoin was founded in 2016 by brothers Brown and Will Haynie, and Will is the company’s CEO.

You might have heard the saying, “There are two types of people in the world – those who believe there are two types of people in the world, and everybody else.” There are definitely two types of people in the world when it comes to crypto currency – those who think it’s a passing fad, and those who think it’s the future of commerce.

Only one of these predictions is going to be right. From what we learn in this conversation, if it’s all a fad and it’s all going to fade away, it’s apparently not going to be any time soon.

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at our website.