Prompted by a flailing economy and plunging fiat currency, Venezuela is one of the world’s largest markets for bitcoin adoption. According to data from LocalBitcoins, Venezuelans have purchased over $250 million worth of BTC in 2019 to date.
Capitalizing on this growth, Traki, one of the largest retail chains in the country, has installed its first bitcoin ATM. The ATM initiative is a collaboration between Criptotraki (Traki’s cryptocurrency division) and Veinte, a local cryptocurrency exchange, according to local news medium Union Radio.
The ATM was installed at the Traki store in the El Recreo Mall in Caracas, the country’s capital. However, it is currently unidirectional, meaning that users can only purchase cryptocurrencies with it, not exchange them for fiat.
For now, the ATM supports the purchase of bitcoin and DASH, and it only accepts U.S. dollars. As Union Radio notes, this represents the first stage of implementation, as both companies will be looking to expand into bidirectional ATMs.
It’s not particularly surprising that Traki has decided to host a bitcoin ATM space. The company added cryptocurrency point-of-sale devices to its 49 stores across Venezuela in August 2019.
More Bitcoin ATMs in Venezuela, South America
Traki’s new bitcoin ATM might not be the first of its kind on Venezuelan soil — the first successful cryptocurrency ATM installation in the country appears to have come in San Antonio del Táchira on September 10, 2019, according to installation data from Coin ATM Radar.
That machine, operated by Panda BTM, reportedly supports BTC, DASH and BCH, as well as the Venezuelan bolívar and Colombian peso. With the addition of Traki’s machine, Venezuelans are getting access to a much wider pool to get their bitcoin.
Within South America and Central America, Colombia leads the way when it comes to an abundance of cryptocurrency ATM. Coin ATM Radar shows that the country has 56 cryptocurrency ATMs installed, followed by the Dominican Republic with 13. Panama comes in third, with cryptocurrency ATMs in 12 locations.
But these numbers are set to grow. In September 2019, global peer-to-peer marketplace Paxful announced that it would be partnering with Medellín-based blockchain firm CoinLogiq to install 20 bitcoin ATMs in Colombia and to install 25 in Peru.
The partnership will reportedly encourage more people to withdraw cryptocurrencies in locations such as Medellín and Bogotá, while improving the ability of people to use bitcoin for payments.
Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.