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    The World's First Bitcoin ATM May End Up in Cash-Strapped Cyprus

    Written by

    Daniel Stuckey


    Yep, that's a bitcoin ATM. Via TDV's release.

    Charging ahead of the bitcoin start-up stampede, Jeff Berwick (Founder of Stockhouse.com and TDV Media), has announced the debut of Bitcoin ATM, with hope to launch its first machine in Cyprus. This couldn't be more timely, as Antreas Artemis, head of the island nation's largest bank, has suddenly resigned amidst a banking crisis in the small Mediterranean country.

    To try to quell the crisis, which has led some to speculate that Cyprus might make a disastrous exit from the eurozone, the country will now enforce weekly withdrawal limits. Banks, meanwhile, are closed until Thursday, and Cyprus's finance minister has said that bank accounts with 100,000 euros or more may see up to 40 percent of those funds converted into bank shares. 

    An ATM powered by bitcoin might be the answer, or so sayeth its ambitious creators. At these ATMs, the revolutionary currency could empower Cypriots, who Berwick thinks ought readily embrace alternatives to helping their government settle 10 billion euro bailouts. On a campaign to win investors and licensing, Berwick says his ATMs will offer regular transactions: Deposits of fiat currencies in exchange to bitcoin, and withdrawals of fiat currency in exchange from bitcoin. 

    In his press release detailing Bitcoin ATM, Berwick explains, "I am convinced bitcoin will be the currency of the future... and all the attacks on it by governments and central banks shows they know it."

    Berwick is clearly playing up the "government snatching your cash" angle, which is indeed the realization of many bitcoin enthusiasts' fears. But the currency's decentralized model also makes for a rather fascinating reserve when Cyprus is having huge liquidity problems, assuming Berwick can keep the ATMs stocked with cash. 

    Only a few months after Bitcoin Central launched–the first bitcoin exchange to become a real bank and shake hands with French regulators (somewhat defeating the purpose of a decentralized currency)–it looks like Berwick's ATMs could either help to work with such enterprises, or leave eliminate the need for a bitcoin bank altogether.

    That French bank, which wants to eventually issue bitcoin to euro bankcards to its members, seemed like it would be the first to offer a bitcoin ATM. But if Bitcoin ATM (the company, not the object) actually takes off, it'll be a huge leap forward in solving the utility problem that still hampers the cryptocurrency's larger adoption.


    For more on bitcoin:

    Is It Time To Take Bitcoin Seriously?

    A Guide to Bitcoin Mining

    Does the New Bitcoin Bank Defeat the Purpose of Bitcoin?