Charlotte entrepreneurs bringing Bitcoin to the parking meter

parkingmeter22 Feb 2014 / Charlotte Observer – Charlotte-based PassportParking Inc. is bringing a new form of currency to the parking meter: Bitcoin.

The South-End-based company offers a one-stop, cloud-based command center for cities, universities and private operators to oversee parking, ticketing enforcement and event management.

Passport has high-profile clients across the country, including the cities of Chicago, Detroit, Omaha, Neb., and Asheville and California’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Now, the company says, it’s the first of its kind to facilitate the use of Bitcoin to pay for parking in lots and metered spaces using its mobile-pay service.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that’s been around since 2009 but began gaining widespread attention in 2013.

Here’s how it works: anyone can download a program on their computer and use certain online exchanges to convert dollars to bitcoins. The bitcoins can then be transferred directly – and anonymously – between two users anywhere in the world, without credit card fees.

Bitcoin is just one of many different means of payment in addition to credit cards that Passport wants to make available to parkers and parking lot operators, says CEO Bob Youakim. They’re also exploring ways to use Google Wallet, PayPal and even gold, he said.

“You see the Targets of the world get hacked,” Youakim said, and the anonymity of Bitcoin is more attractive….. Read more


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