Argentina and other LatAm countries targeted by bitcoin ATM companies
Latin American countries are being targeted as recipients of new bitcoin and cryptocurrency automated teller machines, according to a report by Reuters.
Agentina is expected to get up 30 of the ATMs that buy and sell bitcoin by the end of the year as demand for transactions in cryptocurrencies increases amid the country’s economic crisis that has driven the value of the peso sharply lower this year.
Athena Bitcoin is a US company that specialises in cryptocurrency ATMs and it launched the first bitcoin teller machine in Argentina last month in a Buenos Aires shopping centre, a company spokesman told Reuters.
Meanwhile, rival US company Odyssey Group said it intended to install 150 ATMs in Argentina by the end of the year, four-fifths of which will be bitcoin operational during the first quarter of 2019.
Cryptocurrency ATMs allow users to buy and sell digital assets for cash, and are essentially money transmitting devices. But they are becoming a more popular form of payment and money transfer in areas where economic crisis eats away at the value of domestic fiat currencies.
The Argentine peso has lost more than half its value against the dollar this year and further drops are inevitable as inflation is expected to surpass 40% by the end of 2018.
“With currency devaluations, we have seen a spike in bitcoin transactions. We see that as a safeguard to (the peso’s) value, as well as an opportunity to invest in the market,” Dante Galeazzi, Argentina operations manager for Athena Bitcoin told Reuters.
Both Athena and Odyssey say have plans to expand across other Latin American countries where fiat currency volatility helps created demand for cryptocurrencies.
In Venezuela, the economic crisis has had such a devastating impact on the domestic currency – the new bolivar – that President Nicolas Maduro has launched a state-backed cryptocurrency called the petro, which is backed by the country’s oil production.