Honduras gets the world's first cryptocurrency ATM, bringing Bitcoin fever to the Central American country.
The machine, which was installed in an office tower in Tegucigalpa by Honduran firm TGU Consulting Group, allows users to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum using the local lempira currency.
The first cryptocurrency ATM opened in Honduras this week, as proponents of the digital currency hoped to boost demand after neighbouring El Salvador became the first government to recognise bitcoin as legal tender.
The machine, dubbed "la bitcoinera" by locals, allows users to purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum using the local lempira currency and was installed by Honduran firm TGU Consulting Group in an office tower in Tegucigalpa's city.
Juan Mayen, TGU's CEO, led the campaign to introduce the ATM to Honduras with the hopes of educating people about virtual assets firsthand.
There was no automated mechanism to purchase crypto-currencies until today, he continued.
"You had to do it peer-to-peer, find someone who... was prepared to do it, meet in person, and carry X amount of cash," he explained.
On Friday, one Ethereum was worth $3,237 (about Rs. 2.37 lakhs), while Bitcoin was around $48,140. (roughly Rs. 35.38 lakhs). Mayen said he hopes to expand the service if it proves popular.
Users must scan official identification and enter personal information such as a phone number in order to make a purchase.
Many software developers in Honduras are already paid in cryptocurrency, according to Mayen, and sending remittances will be cheaper as well.
Hondurans living abroad, primarily in the United States, remitted $5.7 billion (approximately Rs. 41,893 crores) in remittances in 2020, accounting for roughly 20% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
In other parts of the region, lawmakers in Panama have introduced draught bills to regulate the usage of Bitcoin and its legal tender status.
El Salvador's Congress adopted a proposal by President Nayib Bukele in June to make El Salvador the first country in the world to use Bitcoin as legal cash.