RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The U.S. company Athena Bitcoin began installing ATMs in El Salvador on Thursday, which can be used to perform various operations with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
The ATM, which is the second in the Central American country after the one installed more than a year ago in the tourist beach El Zonte, was located in a shopping center in the central district of La Libertad.
The machine is one of 14 that will be installed, initially, in El Salvador, according to Matias Goldenhorn, director of Latin America for Athena Bitcoin, the supplier company.
Goldenhorn, who did not provide the cost of each ATM, said that “the idea is to cover all the departments first so that we have at least one machine in each district”.
He indicated that they expect the other machines to arrive in the country in the next few days, which will be placed in shopping centers or service stations.
Goldenhorn, the founder of Athena Bitcoin, Eric Gravengaard, and the Salvadoran Minister of Economy, María Luisa Hayem, participated in the inauguration ceremony of the ATM, which can already be used by citizens even though the Bitcoin Law has not entered into force.
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The installation process of bitcoin ATMs began a little more than two months before the Bitcoin Law, which will allow the use of the cryptocurrency as a means of payment, comes into force.
According to the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies, the regulation, which was already published in the Official Gazette after receiving the signature of President Nayib Bukele, only contained 16 articles and was approved in an “accelerated” manner, according to the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi).
The law, approved by the Legislative Assembly with a large pro-government majority, has generated mixed opinions, mainly due to the country’s risk of becoming a tax haven for money laundering and tax evasion.
The regulation makes El Salvador the first country in the world to give legal course to cryptocurrency.