The first cryptocurrency ATMs in Honduras debuted this week. Bitcoin investors are looking to stimulate demand for the virtual asset after El Salvador became the first country to establish bitcoin as legal tender.
The machine, called “La Bitcoinera”, allows users to buy bitcoin and ethereum using the local lempira currency and was installed by Honduran company TGU Consulting in an office building in the capital, Tegucigalpa.
TGU Chief Executive Officer Juan Mayen led the operation to bring ATMs to Honduras in an effort to educate the public about virtual assets. Until now, there was no automated way to buy crypto-currencies, he said.
“You had to do peer-to-peer, find someone who was interested, meet them in person and take X amount of money, which is very inconvenient and dangerous given the environment in Honduras.”
This Friday, one Ethereum was trading for $3,237 and one Bitcoin for $48,140. If the service is popular, Mayen said he hopes to install more units.
To make a purchase, users are required to scan official identification and enter personal data.
Many software developers in Honduras are already paid in cryptocurrency, Mayen said, adding that it would also be a cheaper option for sending shipments.
In 2020, Honduras abroad – mainly to the United States – sent $5.7 billion, about 20% of Honduras’ gross domestic product (GDP) in remittances to the country.
El Salvador’s Congress approved a proposal by President Nayub Bukele in June to make the country the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as its legal currency.