Cryptocurrency ATM Opens In Honduras Amid Rise In Demand For Virtual Assets 2021

Users must scan official identification and enter personal information to make purchases

Honduras’ first cryptocurrency ATM opened this week as Bitcoin proponents try to increase demand for the virtual asset after neighboring El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.

The machine, known locally as “la bitcoinera”, enables the acquisition of bitcoin and etherium in the local currency Lempira and is being installed by the TGU Honduras Consulting Group in an office tower in the capital Tegucigalpa.

Juan Mayen, 28, CEO of TGU, is leading the effort to bring ATMs to Honduras in hopes of educating people about virtual assets through hands-on experience. So far, there has been no automated way to buy cryptocurrencies, he said.

“You have to do it ‘peer-to-peer’, find someone who is willing to meet them in person and bring X cash, which is very impractical and dangerous given the Honduran environment.” , he called.

On Friday, Ethereum was trading at USD 3,237 and Bitcoin; If the service is popular, Mayen hopes to install more units.

Photo: Reuters
To make a purchase, users are required to scan an official ID and enter personal information such as a phone number.

Many software developers in Honduras are already paying in cryptocurrency, Mayen said, adding that it would also be a cheaper option for sending wire transfers.

In 2020, overseas Honduras – most of the United States – sent remittances worth $5.7 billion, about 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Salvadoran Congress approved a proposal from President Naibi Bukele to the country in June to be the first in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender.

Panama’s legislature has passed territory-wide laws regulating the use of bitcoin and its legal tender status.

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