Jeff Berwick has announced that he will be opening the first Bitcoin ATM in Cyprus as confidence in traditional fiat currencies declines.
Jeff Berwick, founder of StockHouse.com and CEO of TDV Media, announced Monday his plans to open the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Cyprus, citing the ongoing bank bailout, bank closures and capital controls now being pushed in that country. According to Berwick, who sold Stockhouse last decade which at the peak of the tech bubble was worth $240 million, Bitcoin ATM has the world’s first software enabling a two-way, automated Bitcoin market.
Interest in Bitcoin has soared, especially in southern Europe. As Yahoo! reports, downloads of Bitcoin-related apps started rising in Spain over the weekend. For instance, Bitcoin Gold spiked in the Spanish iPhone Finance category from 498 to 72, while another app called Bitcoin Ticket zoomed from 526-52 in just one day. Leading service, Bitcoin App, jumped from 194 to 151 from Friday and Sunday while Spaniards took notice of Cyprus.
This isn't the first time we've seen the Bitcoin ATM, it was at Free State Project’s Liberty Forum in February. Jeff Berwick is now taking that technology to Cyprus. But the island isn't somewhere you'd expect people to embrace a high tech cryptocurrency. Many of Cyprus' elderly residents don't even have bank cards:
That's not to say that the rise of Bitcoin isn't remarkable, its value has rallied repeatedly as Eurozone fears have escalated. But this ATM looks more like a publicity stunt more than a sign of something more fundamental. For Bitcoin to take off it needs to shake its reputation as being exclusively for illegal trades. Getting the currency widely used is key to its success, and that will require greater public understanding of the technology and its ramifications.
(Source: Bitcoin Charts, Mt. Gox)