The very first cryptocurrency ATM opened in Honduras this week, as bitcoin supporters attempted to boost interest for data assets after neighboring El Salvador became the first government to recognize bitcoin as legal cash.
The machine, called “la bitcoinera” in Honduras, allows customers to purchase bitcoin and ethereum using the local lempira currency and was placed in an office tower in Tegucigalpa by Honduran business TGU Consultancy Firm.
Juan Mayen, 28, the CEO of TGU, led the initiative to introduce the ATM to Honduras with the goal of educating people about virtual assets firsthand.
Until recently, he added, there was no automatic way to acquire cryptocurrency.
“You had to do it peer-to-peer, find someone who… was ready to do it, meet in person, and carry X amount of cash, which is incredibly inconvenient and hazardous given the situation in Honduras,” he explained.
On Friday, one ethereum was worth $3,237, while one bitcoin was worth $48,140. Mayen stated that if the service is popular, he plans to put more devices.
Users must scan official identification and enter personal information such as a phone number in order to make a transaction.
Many software engineers in Honduras are already paid in cryptocurrency, according to Mayen, who added that sending remittances will be a cheaper alternative.
In 2020, Hondurans residing abroad – primarily in the United States — contributed $5.7 billion in remittances, accounting for almost 20% of the country’s GDP.
El Salvador’s Congress accepted in June President Nayib Bukele’s proposal to become the country the first in the world to use Bitcoin as legal money.
Elsewhere in the region, politicians in Panama introduced draught laws to control the usage of bitcoin and its position as legal money.