Pro-cryptocurrency Malta took another step further in cementing its position as a virtual currency haven by installing its first two-way Bitcoin ATM operated by a local start-up. Crypto and blockchain experts and enthusiasts attended the launch of the ATM which is operated by Maltese start-up Moon Zebra, a company which specializes in setting up and operating crypto ATMs.
Currently allowing for the real time sale and purchase of only two virtual currencies (Bitcoin and Litecoin), there is the promise of access to more coins to come. The ATM was set up in the pro-blockchain and cryptocurrency real estate firm Quicklets, which is part of the Maltese Quicklets and Zanzi Homes Foundation.
Bitcoin ATM numbers rise by over 2000 In 2 Years
The trend towards using ATMs for cryptocurrency is not new. Malta’s joins the global trend towards making buying cryptocurrency and selling it for cash a more and more accessible option to those used to depositing and withdrawing money at an automated teller.
The number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide has risen from 500 at the start of 2016 to 2,662 currently. Since the first Robocoin machine started operation in a Vancouver coffee shop in Canada five years ago the concept of these internet-connected kiosks has taken off in that country to the tune of 602 currently operating ATMs.
The US, which started out in February the next year with the switch-on of a similar machine in a cigar bar in Mexico (which was removed a month later) now boasts more than 2000 such units, the UK has around 170 and Austria clocks in at just under 150. The idea has even spread to airports, with the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam installing one last month so that passengers could enjoy crypto trading in Bitcoin and Ethereum while waiting for their flight.
Although in some countries, political and regulatory problems have slowed the rise of Bitcoin ATMs, and even forced their removal in some instances, it would seem they are here to stay.