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The Ten Top Cities to Visit With Bitcoin in Your Pocket

Investopedia recently used Coin ATM Radar, coinmap.org and other metrics to calculate the best cities around the globe to visit with Bitcoin.

You don’t have to be in London or New York to use or access your bitcoins.  ATMs are turning up in the most unlikely places, such as the sleepy Devon town of Kingsbridge in the South West of England, where just last month a Bitcoin ATM was set up in the corner of the town’s Tourist Centre.

The Prague subway now has ten new machines spread across its route and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), has clarified that banks in Germany now have the right to upgrade existing ATMs in the country to facilitate certain cryptocurrencies. With the last ATM count approaching 4000 worldwide, it won’t be too long before one is accessible wherever a traveler finds themselves.

So, until then, for the global traveler, where is the best place to cash out some BTC or buy dinner? The following breakdown includes Investopedia’s top dogs when it comes to accessing or spending your crypto funds. Here are the top ten based on Bitcoin accessibility and usability.

  1. The global base of mega crypto exchange Coinbase is San Francisco, not only home of the street tram and Fisherman’s Wharf, but also home to 177 Bitcoin-accepting merchants and 29 Bitcoin ATMs.
  2. Canada has a reputation for being crypto friendly, having been recently described as further advanced in cryptocurrency policy than its US neighbor. The coastal city of Vancouver boasts of 86 merchants accepting the digital currency as well as 48 Bitcoin ATMs around the city.
  3. Half a million Dutch households own crypto so it is unsurprising that Dutch capital Amsterdam is Bitcoin-friendly to the traveler. There are about 74 merchants around the tiny country, with a population under 800,000, accepting Bitcoin. Although, ATMs are not yet patronized as that of the neighboring cities. Approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands who invest in cryptocurrencies started doing so in 2017.
  4. Ljubljana, Slovenia with a tiny population of 272,000, Ljubljana has 51 merchants accepting Bitcoin and five ATMs.
  5. Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel’s financial center offers 58 merchants that are more than happy to take BTC and has 4 Bitcoin ATMs. Bitcoin is a fact of life in the country, and the government has acknowledged it as a taxable asset with investors purchasing gold and real estate with the flagship cryptocurrency, cherishing its anonymity.
  6. Along with Malta, Switzerland is Europe’s real crypto mover and shaker. Out of the world’s six biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) last year, four took place in Switzerland, according to Swiss financial watchdog, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). In Zurich 64 merchants take Bitcoin and eight ATMs serve a tiny population of 366,000. Bitcoin is now available as payment at 1,357 railway ticket kiosks around the alpine nation.
  7. Tampa, Florida may seem an unlikely place to find a community utilizing cryptocurrency but the city provides as many as 93 merchants accepting BTC. Also, a good scattering of 13 ATMs around the city means that travelers are never far from a source of cash.
  8. Both Venezuela and Argentina are in financial crisis. However traveling in Buenos Aires with Bitcoin is made easy with a huge 130 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 3 ATMs, although the government of Argentina has promised to swell those numbers over the next few years. In fact, with no intention of keeping things small, Argentina plans to become the world’s biggest player with pre-agreements to install 4,000 ATM around the South American country.
  9. New York usually does things big, hence 117 ATMs around the city, meaning that most areas of the city are covered whether up, mid, or downtown. 122 merchants also accept Bitcoin as payment. Wall St. has been making noises about crypto this year, so it shouldn’t be too long before banks update their fiat ATMs in America’s banking metropolis.
  10. The UK was quick to take to cryptocurrency; 88 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 74 ATMs around the busy and culturally diverse capital illustrate this enthusiasm. London made the news recently when a mosque announced that it had successfully reached and exceeded its target of donations over the Ramadan period – in cryptocurrency.

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100,000 Regular ATMs in the Us Can Easily Become Bitcoin ATMs as Genmega and LibertyX Team Up

ATM manufacturer Genmega and LibertyX have partnered to offer Bitcoin buying functionality on regular ATMs. 100,000 regular ATMs can now become Bitcoin ATMs with a simple upgrade. It is likely that large amounts of Genmega ATM owners will do this upgrade since it provides extra revenue and extra attention without any upfront cost or new hardware.

The Bitcoin and crypto ATM industry has been proliferating. There are 3,894 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide as of this writing on 18 October 2018, up from 2,086 at the beginning of 2018 and 949 at the beginning of 2017. This near-exponential growth of the number of Bitcoin ATMs is building critical infrastructure that turns Bitcoin into a currency that can be used in everyday life, especially in the case of 2-way Bitcoin ATMs that facilitate both buying and selling of the popular cryptocurrency. It helps people paid with Bitcoin, get the cash they need for food and rent. In general, even ATMs that only offer Bitcoin buying are still increasing global demand for the digital currency by providing upward pressure on Bitcoin’s price.

If all 100,000 Genmega ATMs are upgraded, then the number of Bitcoin ATMs will skyrocket by more than an order of magnitude. This could drastically increase Bitcoin adoption, since people that go to regular ATMs will see that Bitcoin is available, and if they did not know about Bitcoin already, they would probably research it and possibly buy it. It will be easier than ever before to buy Bitcoin across the United States if even a fraction of Genmega ATMs upgrade. The combination of Genmega Bitcoin ATMs and classic Bitcoin ATMs will make instant Bitcoin buying available in practically every town across the country.

At this time Genmega ATMs will only be offering Bitcoin purchase option, since LibertyX, which is the exchange they partnered with, only offers Bitcoin buying. LibertyX is a top method in the United States for buying Bitcoin with cash. Users of LibertyX bring cash to a LibertyX location, which can be any store that chooses to offer LibertyX. They exchange cash for a voucher that can be instantly redeemed for Bitcoin. LibertyX is something like a mix between a Bitcoin exchange and a Bitcoin dealer, and they actually launched the first Bitcoin ATMs in the United States back in 2014.

As of 2014, there were 420,000 regular fiat ATMs in the United States, 100X more than all the Bitcoin ATMs in the world as of 2018, and the number of regular fiat ATMs has probably grown since 2014. Worldwide there are an estimated 3.5 million ATMs. If these regular ATMs can become Bitcoin ATMs with a simple software upgrade like that offered by Genmega and LibertyX, then the number of Bitcoin ATMs will grow at unprecedented speeds, and Bitcoin’s price will likely go up from increased demand.

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First Bitcoin ATM Appears in India Despite Central Bank Crackdown

Despite the central bank’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin in India, the country’s first Bitcoin ATM has been established in Bengaluru’s Kemp Fort Mall.

The ATM is for the exclusive use of local crypto exchange Unocoin’s clients, allowing users to deposit cash or withdraw money for future use on Unocoin’s website or smart device application.

The machines offer a way of circumventing the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) cryptocurrency crackdown, as Unocoin say they do not involve the country’s banking system in any way, hence do not fall under the jurisdiction of the central bank. While Unocoin accepts that standard Bitcoin ATM’s would be banned in the country under RBI guidelines, it believes that because they do not offer banking services technically speaking, its ATMs are exempt.

Some of the harsh restrictions that RBI has established include a prohibition of business relationships between lenders and digital currency exchanges and traders, leading to a decline in trading volumes, local cryptocurrency businesses suffering financially, and a general backlash from the whole, suffering industry in India.

Differing slightly from Bitcoin ATMs seen outside the country, Unocoin hopes to fill the vacuum left by banks retreating from offering crypto businesses and investors financial services. With each user given unique access keys to their account, they cannot purchase assets directly from the machine but need to access the website or app to complete the transaction. Its predominant use is to allow users to deposit their cash for later use on the site.

Right now, the machine can accept cash deposits between INR 1,000 and INR 10,000.

Two more ATMs from Unocoin are scheduled for launch in Mumbai and New Delhi later this week, adding to an overall estimated total of 3,879 cryptocurrency ATMs operating in 76 countries.

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German Banks Can Offer ATMs Exchanging Bitcoin and Ether to Euro

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), has clarified that banks have the right to upgrade existing ATMs in the country to facilitate certain cryptocurrencies, according to Trustnodes.

The German FCA has announced that the country’s banks can take up the new option, but as yet none have responded to the opportunity to allow customers to exchange BTC or Ether for Euros using the machines.

Responding to a question by Thomas Lutze, representative of a left-wing party in Germany, BaFin stated:

“Each institute, which has permission for proprietary trading, also has the right to set up machines that allow the exchange of Bitcoin in euros and vice versa. So far it is not known that this was done.”

Its reported that the modification of the machines would offer QR code facilities to enable simple address scanning and modification.

Cryptocurrency ATMs are becoming far more commonplace around the globe, although Europe has a long way before it catches up with the US. Prague has recently seen the arrival of 10 new Bitcoin ATMs across the city’s subway routes, and London now has 74 positioned around the city, although 118 businesses also accept Bitcoin as payment.

However, London ranks 6th globally on the crypto convenience list, with the top five cities all located in North America. Los Angeles tops the list with 145 ATMs and over 850 firms accepting Bitcoin payments. Other cities with a healthy spread include Toronto, New York, and Atlanta. Argentina has expressed a desire to have a gargantuan total of 30,000 located across the nation and US capital Washington DC has recently doubled its ATM availability from 20 to 40 due to public demand.

There are reportedly six German banks currently trading cryptocurrency according to BaFin, although the banks haven’t as yet been named. It remains to be seen whether banks see enough customer demand to operate the service

However, German stock exchanges are seriously looking at cryptocurrency options for the future. Deutsche Boerse, the owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is evaluating whether to offer cryptocurrency products, according to Bloomberg. If this is the case, this will be the second German stock exchange to make announcements this year regarding a move towards the adoption of cryptocurrency related products, after Boerse Stuttgart Digital Adventures announced the release of its Bison app in April.

 

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A Traveler’s Guide: How to See the World With Bitcoin in 2018

After software developer Felix Weiss from Luxembourg attracted worldwide attention two years ago, by traveling the world with Bitcoin at his disposal, Hard Fork asks the question: Has this feat become easier in 2018?

When Weiss left on his world trip in January 2015 Bitcoin had crashed to around $200 per BTC, but started to slowly climb back en-route which he said had helped him to complete his 18-month journey. He said that the easiest country had been the US, particularly San Francisco, where Bitcoin acceptance was widespread around the city.

He struggled in Cuba having to revert to cash. In Asia, he said his cash usage again was high and found a higher degree of Bitcoin acceptance in South America.

Hard Fork’s Neer Varshney researched how this picture might pan out in today’s crypto space by contacting airlines: the first port of call for any travelers. He found that there are multiple airlines accepting cryptocurrency payments including CheapAir.com, who started accepting cryptocurrency payments as far back as 2013. The company now accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash payments.

Other companies offering cryptocurrency booking services included Expedia, BTCtrip.com, Destinia.com, Japan’s Peach Aviation, California’s Surf Air, and Latvia’s airBaltic, and A Bit Sky.

Finding a placed to stay has become even easier as most of these companies also allow you to pay in crypto for accommodation too, although it depends on exactly which part of the world the traveler chooses.

Eating is not quite such a simple affair with limited restaurants and cafes around the globe accepting Bitcoin and other currencies. Although, CoinMap can help travelers find a Bitcoin-accepting venue for the next meal. La Sirene in Manhattan now accepts Bitcoin. Some companies now offer a gift card service which can be used to purchase food coupons for Bitcoin.

Shopping has become easier with many online stores now accepting the popular cryptocurrency, and as revealed in the last week if you land in Brisbane, the International airport there will be welcoming crypto payments in all its terminal shops and cafe’s this year.

The last resort, of course, is to hunt down a Bitcoin ATM. This is good news for the traveler, as there are now over 3000 such ATMs worldwide, and if South America is the list, then Argentina must be a destination for the discerning Bitcoin traveler, with its plan to install 30,000 machines in that country alone. Europe and the US are increasingly installing machines to keep up with customer demand, most machines offering Bitcoin and often a choice of other major digital currencies.

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Jo’Burg’s First ATM Hopes to Enthuse Local South Africans Towards Bitcoin

South Africa has its first cryptocurrency ATM since 2104 and the new Northwold Spar machine in Johannesburg will become the only one operating in the country, reports Bitcoinist.

George Neophytou, the General Manager of the Northwold Spar and self-confessed crypto enthusiast was inspired to purchase the machine after a trip to Europe, the continent with the world’s third market share of crypto ATMs, He comments:

“It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream… It’s a different world there. Walking around in the streets of Germany you see signs with ‘Bitcoins accepted there’.”

The ATM, which was imported from Portugal, will be able to process various forms of cryptocurrency tokens including Ethereum and Bitcoin. It’s not the first in South Africa, as a previous machine was installed in 2014 at a men’s salon in Midrand, Johannesburg, but was closed down after a short period in operation. The store manager was excited about the prospect of making cryptocurrency available to his customers:

“It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream…Lots of people in South Africa are also in the cryptocurrency space and lots of South Africans are watching it. However, not all individuals have access to it.”

Neophyou hopes that his ATM will make cryptocurrency accessible to those customers without a bank account, and hopes to roll out more ATMs, if successful. Although, he warns that those using the machine should do their research and understand that they should only spend what they can afford to lose.

A recent survey conducted in South Africa maintained that one in four respondents confirmed they plan to invest in cryptocurrency in the future, and another 15% said that they would invest in mining equipment. Although, warnings of electricity hikes of up to 50% in the near future may well dampen the enthusiasm of prospective bitcoin miners, according to LiveBitcoinNews.com

South Africa joins Zimbabwe and Djibouti are currently the only African countries to offer cryptocurrency ATMs.

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4000 New Bitcoin ATM’s for Argentina Follows Global Trend

US ATM distributor, Odyssey Group, has announced that it has pre-agreements to install 4000 Cryptocurrency ATMs throughout Argentina, after an easing of regulations by the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA)

The new laws enable the installation of ATMs, of any kind, to be installed in supermarkets, shopping malls, and cinemas. Until now, operating licenses have only been issued to Argentinian company Bancelo and international Link networks, providing they site their machines on banking premises.  The new legislation has broadened location rules and also opened up the market to independent players.

Odyssey Group CEO, Sebastian Ponceliz, explains that company platform, Octagon, “… allows the ATM user to obtain cash, exchange cryptocurrencies, obtain microcredits, transfer money and many other functions through electronic wallets.” Ponceliz has said that the planned 4000 ATMs is only a small part of the BRCA’s expected 30,000 machines to be installed across Argentina due to the new legislation.

Worldwide

Bitcoin ATMs are a becoming a global phenomenon, breaking down the entry barrier of identity verification by allowing the public to use cash or a debit card to purchase BTC immediately. The transaction issues a physical paper receipt with a QR code on it allowing users to scan that code into any wallet.

Bitcoin ATMs are becoming a more common sight, particularly in major capitals or centers, and the US currently has the greatest total of around 1,700 machines nationwide. Statistics show that there are now more Bitcoin ATMs than traditional banking machines being installed currently, with on average, five new machines being positioned each day.

There are now approximately 3000 Bitcoin ATMs installed in 67 countries and nearly half of these support altcoins as well as Bitcoin. In 2017 the number of Bitcoin ATMs doubled from just 954 to 2,028. Surprisingly Asia only has just 2.16 of the world total with the US, Canada and The UK leading the way.

China’s last ATM

China now has one Bitcoin ATM, after its cryptocurrency shut down, it’s been moved from a cafe in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang high-tech park where it was used by employees.  In now stands in the lobby of the headquarters of BTCC, one of the worlds oldest crypto exchanges. The machines’ screen shows that there’s ‘no bitcoin available for trading.’

Image Courtesy: https://pixabay.com/en/atm-money-cash-payment-finance-2923515/ jarmoluk

 

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