Bitcoin fever hits Honduras with first cryptocurrency ATM
Aug. 27 (Reuters) – The first cryptocurrency ATM in Honduras opened this week as bitcoin backers sought to boost demand for virtual assets after neighboring El Salvador became the first country to establish the bitcoin as legal tender.
The machine, locally dubbed “the 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 the Honduran company TGU Consulting Group .
Juan Mayen, 28, managing director of TGU, led the effort to bring the ATM to Honduras in the hopes of educating people about virtual assets through first-hand experience.
Until now, there has been no automated way to buy cryptocurrency, he said.
“You had to do it among peers, look for someone who… was willing to do it, meet you in person and carry X amount of money, which is very inconvenient and dangerous given the environment in Honduras,” did he declare. .
On Friday, an ethereum was trading at $ 3,237 and bitcoin; $ 48,140. If the service is popular, Mayen said he hopes to install more units.
To make a purchase, users must scan an official ID and enter personal data such as a phone number.
Many software developers in Honduras are already paid in cryptocurrency, Mayen said, adding that it would also be a cheaper option for sending funds.
In 2020, Hondurans living abroad – mostly in the United States – sent $ 5.7 billion, or about 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), in remittances.
El Salvador’s Congress in June approved a proposal by President Nayib Bukele to make the country the first in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Read more
Elsewhere in the region, lawmakers have introduced bills in Panama that regulate the use of bitcoin and its status as legal tender.
Reporting by Diego Ore, additional reporting by Elida Moreno in Panama City; Editing by David Gregorio
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