Why Germany still has the disadvantage and services like Athena Bitcoin focus more and more on South America.
Where are all Bitcoin ATMs?
You can think of Bitcoin ATMs as a traditional ATM, with the crucial difference of trading money for Satoshis – and vice versa. In the United States, the machines have already reached a certain significance. In the Chicago metropolitan area alone, according to ATM Corner Radar data, there would be a total of 132 pieces. Spread across the country, Americans find more than 3,000 such accesses to the BTC.
In Germany, however, there are only 49 pieces. Research by BTC-ECHO has revealed that the ATM at the Damla market in Berlin-Charlottenburg is not functional. Why this delay in this country?
Part of the problem is probably due to a lack of clarity in the regulation of cryptographic assets and bitcoin machines in Germany. In a judgment of the court of appeal, this gray area is revealed more clearly than ever: in October 2018, the court held that BaFin was not allowed to prohibit investors to exchange Bitcoin & Co. through distributors automatic tickets. His opinion was based on the court's view that Bitcoin was not a financial instrument within the meaning of the Banking Act and therefore the authority was not at all responsible for supervision.
One consequence of the decision was the legal reassessment of cryptographic assets. According to the content of a federal government bill, these values are considered "cryptographic values" for the coming year. The goal was to legally anchor BaFin's regulatory capacity.
BaFin becomes an ATM Supervisor
Starting next year, BaFin will receive exactly the skill it was certain before. In other words: from 2020, BaFin will also regulate bitcoin machines in accordance with the new law on the fight against money laundering.
It does not have to be negative. Until now, setting up BTC ATMs was not illegal in itself. However, the unclear regulatory status did not exactly favor the growth of the industry in this country. It is conceivable, for example, that crypto-entrepreneurs with a banking license agree with BaFin and then deploy large-scale ATMs throughout the country.
Different models are possible. For example, many ATM operators are franchised companies. In other words, the manufacturer rents or sells the equipment to franchisees, who in return receive a portion of the fees. Experience has shown that fees for Bitcoin machines are higher than for trading; ATMs are therefore a potentially interesting source of revenue for kiosk and gas station owners.
Bitcoin in South America more popular than ever
The importance of ATMs as an adaptation tool is also discussed in the latest episode of Peter McCormack's "What Bitcoin Did Podcast". Two co-founders this week, Gil Valentine and Eric Gravengaard, were from Athena Bitcoin, one of the largest Bitcoin ATM operators in the United States.
Although the growing popularity is also in the United States, the true use case is proving especially in South American countries endowed with dysfunctional currencies.
"The Argentinian people have had their currency devalued several times in recent decades," Valentines said.
"The Argentine peso," and then McCormack, "lost 40% of its value against the US dollar this year alone, it was enough to grow in Argentina to see the value of Bitcoin."
This may be true. But the reality is different. As the Argentine businessman Alex Krüger says on Twitter, the spread of bitcoin is not as high as the story suggests. As a result, the majority of the population deviates more from the US dollar than from Bitcoin:
Bitcoin's reputation in Argentina is extremely low and the bitcoin market in Argentina is therefore small (outside the high-tech sector).
Argentina is a near dollarized economy; Argentines are obsessed with the dollar and cover it.
– Alex Kruger (@krugermacro) August 13, 2019
Contrary to popular belief, the penetration of bitcoin in Argentina is extremely low. The Argentinian Bitcoin market is small. Argentina is a near-dollar market […],
Bitcoin as a hard money alternative?
Nevertheless, the podcaster cuts an exciting point: fiduciary currencies like the US dollar or the euro are not the rule, but the exception. A large part of the world's population lives in states where citizens daily face rampant or rampant devaluation of their own currency – and thus their savings credits. Converted into Argentine peso, Bitcoin reached its all-time record.
In these states, Bitcoins could increasingly serve as a lifeline, even if the adaptation is slower than some believe. As the volume of BTC trading is extremely low in countries such as Argentina, Bitcoin ATMs are likely to play an increasingly important role in the future.
So, how could it be a coincidence that one of the most profitable Athena ATMs is in Cucuta, Colombia? The place is located directly on the Venezuelan border.
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