A new report suggests Argentina could be getting as many as 30 cryptocurrency ATMs by the end of the year.
Digital assets have become a hot subject in South America, largely thanks to growing economic problems and inflation. The peso – the primary currency used throughout Argentina – has lost approximately 50 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar, and issues faced in neighboring regions like Venezuela are having major impacts on the general continent.
Some have attempted to remedy the problem by introducing crypto-based solutions such as Venezuela’s petro, a digital currency first introduced through an initial coin offering (ICO) in February of this year. The currency is allegedly backed by the nation’s oil reserves and has even been tied to worker’s wages to help deal with rising inflation.
Unfortunately, the currency continues to face accusations that it is either false or doesn’t work in the way it was designed. In addition, petro trading has been banned in countries like the United States, and the currency is not listed on any valid or registered exchange.
You Don’t Need Specific Crypto – You Just Need Crypto
But what regions like Venezuela aren’t understanding is that an entirely new cryptocurrency may not be the solution they need. Rather, existent forms of crypto – when used in the right manner – can assist with economic problems and bring a victimized nation back from the brink. Argentina appears to understand this, as most of the ATMs it’s installing will run on bitcoin withdrawals.
The machines will be installed by Athena Bitcoin, which is a cryptocurrency ATM company based in the U.S. The company launched the nation’s first bitcoin ATM in a shopping mall just last month. However, U.S. based Odyssey Group has even bigger plans. Representatives have recently come forward with a goal to install over 150 new machines by the year 2019.
Argentina’s the Perfect Place for This
Dante Galeazzi – Argentina’s operation manager for Athena Bitcoin – comments:
“Today, the cryptocurrency ATMs in the world are growing exponentially. In Argentina, there were no commercial ATMs, and the idea was to be the first to capture the market. With current devaluations, we have seen a spike in bitcoin transactions. We see that as a safeguard to [the peso’s] value, as well as an opportunity to invest in the market.”
Ambition Is Stronger on One Side
While the machines are slated to support strictly bitcoin at first, he believes that over time, they can adapt to also support Litecoin, Ethereum and even bitcoin cash.
The main difference between Athena and Odyssey is that Athena ATMs only allow for bitcoin withdrawals, whereas those designed by Odyssey can perform traditional bank transactions along with crypto trades. Users can withdraw cash and even allow money to be moved to different fiat accounts.
Hope for Growth and Expansion
This isn’t the first time Odyssey Group has rolled out plans for installing ATMs in Argentina. Additional ones have been introduced on two separate occasions in the past, including September 2017. CEO Sebastian Ponceliz announced to media sources that the company was working on installing 200 new bitcoin ATMs starting in October of that year. He later reiterated this plan in May of 2018, saying that eventually, the company would be responsible for the installation of roughly 4,000 separate bitcoin ATMs within the country.
Athena Bitcoin has already installed 12 separate cryptocurrency ATMs in Colombia, and is now eyeing countries like Mexico, Chile and Brazil as potential “expansion spots.” Odyssey has also mentioned it is looking at other regions in South America that may require bitcoin ATMs.
In the meantime, Argentina will be the prime location of all current machines. Transactions will occur through the hands of a company called Octagon, a payments venture owned by Odyssey.