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Capital Area Food Bank hoping Bitcoin can help fight hunger

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Forty-eight thousand people every week are helped by the services of the Capital Area Food Bank.

Every dollar the non-profit gets can be turned into $5 worth of food.

They've decided to try something new -- accepting Bitcoin donations.

They say they're the first food bank in the United States to do so.

"We haven't ever been afraid to try new and innovative things and we thought 'if this is something that people can engage in to help fight hunger, then we want to make it easy and we want to make it possible,'" said Joanna Linden with the food bank.

A non-descript corner at Central Texas Gunworks is now home to a tree and 2 chairs. But this weekend, owner Michael Cargill will be filling the space with Austin's second Bitcoin ATM.

"We wanted to cut out the middle guy, we want to get rid of all the banks and everything that's in the middle," Cargill said.

The Capital Area Food Bank is partnering with Central Texas Gunworks to help get them those Bitcoin donations.

"What I'm doing is I want people to come down and actually purchase one Bitcoin from our ATM and then donate that to the food bank," Cargill said.

Bitcoin has had a bad week though.

Japanese company "Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange" went bankrupt after 850,000 pieces of the currency disappeared. That equals more than $400 million actual dollars.

But back here in Central Texas, the food bank isn't worried.

"We're on the receiving end of Bitcoin and so therefore there's no investment on our end, there's no expenditure or overhead. 100% of all the donations come to us so we don't have a real risk or liability in the process. So even though we're following the story and we watch what's going on, at this point we don't have a risk," Linden said.

"When your banking systems actually...when they started doing transactions online through the internet, they actually lost millions of dollars. So there are gonna be some bumps in the road," Cargill said.

This Sunday, Central Texas Gunworks will be unveiling the new "Robocoin" Bitcoin ATM and the Capital Area Food Bank will be there talking to people about how Bitcoin can help fight hunger.

The food bank is already accepting Bitcoin on their website at

They point out that there are no processing fees with Bitcoin. So 100% of the donation goes to them.

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