In just a few days, hundreds of cryptocurrency ATMs will be installed across Moscow, Russia. Despite the country’s long-held skepticism for Bitcoin, Russian crypto enthusiasts will now be able to purchase a number of different currencies right in the nation’s capital.
From St Petersburg to Moscow: Bitcoin ATMs Taking Over Russia
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitlish operates the American-sourced ATMs, but Russia-based InvestCoin24 will oversee the installations in Moscow.
The project had modest beginnings when a Bitlish-operated ATM popped up in St. Petersburg. This one-way ATM allows users to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Zcash at a 4 percent fee. Now, 100 of these ATMs are on their way to Moscow — scheduled to be installed by the end of the year.
InvestCoin24 co-owner Pavel Panov said the company wants to install the ATMs throughout the city. Currently, he said, the company is in talks with airport owners to get ATMs installed in the departure and arrival sections of the terminals, giving cryptocurrency access to those entering and leaving the city.
InvestCoin24 installed a machine at the Vintage 77 restaurant in Moscow to test its reliability. After a successful run there, the company decided to take the operation city-wide. They performed a first test to check the machine’s capacity in September this year at an event in Restaurant “Vintage77” of Moscow.
Now, the company is running each machine through a number of checks to ensure their functionality. Panov said they plan to have these tests done by the end of October, after which they will begin installing the ATMs.
InvestCoin24 said it is paying for this project out of pocket, without outside investment. They did not disclose the amount they have spent on the ATMs thus far.
Growth of BTC in Russia
The growth of Bitcoin is rapidly increasing in Russia, despite numerous statements from the national government denying rumors that it intends to officially recognize the coin.
The management team of Moscow Stock Exchange, for example, discussed the possibility of launching an investment vehicle based on an index of BTC’s value.
Furthermore, in June, the Valenok restaurant in Moscow started accepting bitcoin as a payment option. The restaurant has also expressed interest in installing one of InvestCoin24’s ATMs, if there is sufficient demand from their customers.
Despite a growing interest in Bitcoin among the country’s citizens, the government’s official stance on the technology remains unclear. Some officials have called for acceptance and regulation of cryptocurrency, while others state their intent to push legislation for an outright ban. The Russian central bank does not recognize bitcoin as a currency, and have warned citizens against using it due to the lack of a central authority to guarantee its legitimacy.
Panov said InvestCoin24 wants to service the ATMs in Moscow safely, and will pay attention to any official statements or regulations from the government regarding cryptocurrency.
Do you think these ATMs will encourage cryptocurrency adoption in Russia? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Cover image via SkyscraperCity