Eric Gravengaard, CEO of Athena Bitcoin, at the installation of an ATM in El Salvador.
Photo: MARVIN RECINOS / .
The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador has just approved the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment and although the Bitcoin Law has not yet entered into force, the company Athena has already started with the installation of ATMs for transactions with digital currency.
The . agency announced that Athena Bitcoin plans to invest more than a million dollars in the installation of ATMs of the cryptocurrency in the Central American country, focused on places where there is a greater reception of remittances.
Matias Goldenhörn, Director for Latin America at Athena Bitcoin, said that They estimate to gradually place 1,500 ATMs, as well as to hire staff and open an office to carry out their operations in El Salvador., after the country announced that it will be the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.
Goldenhörn explained to journalists that President Nayib Bukele requested 1,500 ATMs from them, which represents a “tough challenge” which will be met in phases. “We are a private company and we want to guarantee that our development in the country is sustainable,” said the executive.
“As an initial measure we are going to bring dozens of machines, (we are going to) test what the business model is like in El Salvador, which will probably be different than in the United States,” added Goldenhörn.
A year ago, Athena Bitcoin installed the first ATM to carry out bitcoin transactions in El Salvador on El Zonte beach, where “Bitcoin Beach”, an economic ecosystem of the cryptocurrency, takes place.
Y yesterday another equipment was installed in a shopping center on the La Libertad highway. At the event, it was also reported that an association will be made with “Bitcoin Beach” so that they are in charge of teaching the population about the use of the machines and clarifying any doubts that future users may have.
President Bukele has promoted the use of cryptocurrency in the country for its potential to help Salvadorans living abroad to send remittances, which are equivalent to 16% of El Salvador’s GDP.
The plan is starting in a context in which the country has been criticized by various sectors of the population, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who see legal and economic problems in the implementation of the Bitcoin Law.
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