The first cryptocurrency ATM opened in Honduras this week, as bitcoin backers called for spurring demand for virtual assets after neighboring El Salvador became the first country to deem bitcoin legal.
The machine, locally dubbed “la bitcoinera,” allows users to acquire bitcoin and ethereum using the local lempira currency and was installed in an office tower in the capital of Tegucigalpa by Honduran firm TGU Consulting Group.
Chief Executive Juan Mayen, 28, has led efforts to bring ATMs to Honduras, hoping to spread a culture of virtual assets among citizens through first-hand experience.
According to Mayne, there is still no automated way to buy cryptocurrencies.
“You had to do it peer-to-peer, look for someone who … was willing to do it, meet in person and carry X amount of cash, which is very inconvenient and dangerous given the environment in Honduras,” he said.
Today, Friday, Ethereum reached $3,237, and Bitcoin recorded $48,140.
If the service becomes popular, Mayen said he hopes to install more ATMs for cryptocurrency.
To make a purchase, the user has to scan the official identity and enter personal data such as a phone number.
“Many software developers in Honduras are already getting paid in cryptocurrency,” Main said, adding that “it would also be a less expensive option to send remittances.”
Last June, El Salvador’s Congress approved a proposal by President Nepe Bukele to make the world’s first country to adopt bitcoin as a legal currency.
Elsewhere in the region, lawmakers presented draft bills in Panama that regulate the use of bitcoin and its status as a legal tender.