Economy

“La bitcoinera”: Honduras gets its first cryptocurrency ATM

Bitcoin backers try to boost demand for digital assets in the country

Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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  • Honduras pushes to educate customers on digital assets;
  • Called locally as “La Bitcoinera”, the ATM allows users to buy bitcoin and ethereum using local currency.

Honduras opened its first cryptocurrency ATM this week as bitcoin backers try to boost demand for digital assets after El Salvador became the first country to establish bitcoin as a legal currency.

Called locally “La Bitcoinera“, the ATM allows users to buy bitcoin and ethereum using local currency lempira and was set up in an office tower by Honduran company TGU Consulting in the country’s capital Tegucigalpa.

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Juan Mayen, 28, chief executive of TGU, lead the operation to install the ATM in Honduras, in an attempt to educate customers on digital assets. Until now, there wasn’t an automated way to buy cryptocurrencies, he said.

You had to do it peer-to-peer, look for someone willing to do it, meet in person and carry money in cash, which is a lot inconvenient and dangerous in Honduras”, he said.

This Friday (27), one ethereum was trading at $ 3,237, and one bitcoin for $ 48,140. If the service becomes popular, Mayen plans to install other units.

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To make a purchase, users had to scan their official IDs and input personal data. A lot of Honduran developers are already paid in cryptocurrencies, said Mayen, adding that it is also a cheaper way to send remittances.

In 2020, Hondurans living abroad — mostly in the US — sent $ 5,7 billion, about 20% of Honduras’ gross domestic product (GDP) in remittances.

In June, El Salvador’s Congress approved a proposal by president Nayub Bukele to make the country the first in the world to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender.

(Translated by LABS)

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