Greece’s first reported 2-way bitcoin ATM has opened in downtown Athens. It is located at The Cube, a coworking space for startups.
For Greeks looking for respite from cash, they can exchange it at the machine for bitcoin, which is deposited into their wallet.
More importantly, those holding bitcoin can use it to withdraw euros- a luxury for Greeks these days. Greek Reporter, which first reported the story, observed someone withdrawing 120 euros, double the current daily withdrawal limit.
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Greece has imposed a number of capital controls to prevent the depletion of liquidity from its banking system. Even after last night’s deal, the controls remain in place until logistics are worked out and the banks receive a desperately needed injection of cash.
The ATM was installed by Spanish startup Bitchain. There are repeatedly 0% commission fees, although it remains to be clarified if there is a markup on the going exchange rate.
Several young Greeks who have recently become aware of Bitcoin were intrigued by the machine, which can come in useful for making cross-border payments.
Although technically, the machine is coming a bit late in the game- Greeks will hopefully soon be able to access their money again- it is never too early to prepare for the next crisis in three years’ time.