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New BATM Supporting BTC, BCH Launches in Sofia
**A crypto teller machine exchanging a number of cryptocurrencies with fiat, including bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH), will be operational next week in a Sofia mall. The BATM is a two-way device that will accept euro, dollar and Bulgarian lev deposits. It will also buy cryptos and print paper wallets. **
Also read: <u>Eastern Europe: Regulation Postponed, Tax Abandoned, Banks Enlightened</u>
Two-Way Bitcoin ATM in Sofia
The new BATM will be available to residents and visitors of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, from Monday. The teller machine supports two-way transactions for several cryptocurrencies including bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), and monero (XMR). The cryptos can be bought with EUR, USD, and BGN, the local fiat currency. The device is installed in The Mall, one of the popular shopping centers in Sofia located on the way from the airport to the city’s center.
The crypto ATM is operated by a local exchange, DG Cash, which shared the news of the launch on social media. “The exchange rates of the cryptocurrencies applied at the ATM are almost identical to the ‘We Buy’ and ‘We Sell’ rates on our website, and the commission we collect is approximately 3% of the market price as it is included in the exchange rate,” the trading platform detailed in a Facebook post.
According to the announcement, the limit for a single transaction is set at 10,000 BGN (~€5,100 EUR, $6,000 USD). Users can buy any of the supported cryptos by depositing euros, dollars, or Bulgarian levs. When selling, however, they’ll receive only BGN. The interface of the device supports Bulgarian, English and Spanish among other languages. In case someone wants to purchase digital coins but does not have an electronic wallet, the device can generate a paper wallet.
The BATM at The Mall is not the only one in the Bulgarian capital. The first crypto teller machine in Sofia was installed in 2014, in the Interpred office building. It is a buy only device selling bitcoin (BTC) at 4% over the average price at Bitpay, Kraken, and Bitstamp, and it has a daily limit of 5,000 BGN. Another two-way ATM was installed in the downtown Coffee Bar The White, in 2015.
Bulgaria’s Crypto Woes
Bulgarian crypto exchanges have been through some turbulent times recently due to a bank clampdown that culminated in December last year. The teams operating the local trading platforms have been trying to adapt to a situation in which many banks refuse to open accounts to companies dealing in cryptocurrency. DG Cash, the operator of the new BATM, maintains only crypto-cash trading services. Both on its website and its Facebook page, the exchange claims it has two offices – in Sofia, and in Sliema, Malta, where it also plans to install a crypto ATM.
In the past several months, all major Bulgarian exchanges have experienced difficulties and interruptions in their operations. Crypto.bg was affected by Fibank’s decision to quit providing services to crypto traders. The popular exchange was closed down for weeks and since it reopened it’s been mostly working with payment processors like Epay and Cashterminal. Another leading platform that managed to maintain operations throughout the crisis, Xchange.bg, has been forced to change its bank accounts several times. Other platforms have reported similar issues.
The clampdown happened in the absence of comprehensive regulations for the country’s growing crypto sector. However, the Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission recently decided to start monitoring the fintech industry and the situation may change soon. A newly adopted strategy proposes the introduction of requirements for licensing and registration of companies operating in the sector.
Do you think Bitcoin ATMs help to increase the popularity and accessibility of cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pundi X.
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