Venezuela: First Bitcoin ATM Opens ‘In 2 Weeks’ Amid Localbitcoins Shutdown Reports
Venezuela, the country seeing new Bitcoin trade volume records on an almost weekly basis, is to get its first ever Bitcoin ATM.
Cryptobuyer: ATM Already In Caracas
In an interview with local radio and news media network Union Radio, Jorge Farias, CEO of Panama-based Cryptobuyer, said the machine had already arrived in the country’s capital Caracas.
“We are going to install the first cryptocurrency ATM in Venezuela over the course of the next two weeks,” he told the network.
…We already have the equipment physically installed in Venezuela, in Caracas; it’s in its final test stage and we will then be making an announcement on social networks.
The pioneering move comes amid ever more difficult times for Venezuelans.
As Bitcoinist variously reported, a toxic mixture of hyperinflation, travel and forex restrictions has made life for the average citizen often impossible.
At the same time, Venezuela’s government has pushed an agenda involving its state-issued cryptocurrency Petro, recently beginning to require certain payments – such as passports – only use the asset.
Petro has had a dubious reputation since inception, reports claiming that despite its peg to Venezuela’s $6 billion oil float, its backer in the form of state oil company PDVSA has $45 billion debts which undermine its status as a store of value.
Localbitcoins ‘Not Working’
It is thus little surprise that P2P Bitcoin trading has exploded, especially over the last six months of 2018.
According to the latest data from Coin Dance, the week ending January 5 was the second busiest on record for the Venezuelan Bolivar (VES) on Localbitcoins, with a total of 5.15 billion changing hands.
This was followed a dramatic drop for the week ending January 12, will social media commentators reporting the service was no longer accessible from inside Venezuela.
Cryptobuyer is first and foremost a merchant acceptance platform for Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Dash (DASH), and at present only lists a modest network of five ATMs in Panama City. Its operational machines cater to all three cryptocurrencies.
Worldwide, the number of Bitcoin ATMs continues to expand. A deal announced this week between the first US operator, Coinme, and change counter Coinstar, could see up to 20,000 extra locations appear in the US soon.
What do you think about Venezuela’s Bitcoin ATM? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock