Ukraine is soon to have 150 new ATMs for both buying and selling cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, with around 30 of the machines in place by the end of August, according to the head of the Bitcoin agency in Ukraine.
Mike Chobanyan says a group of Ukrainian entrepreneurs ordered the 150 automated teller machines for bitcoins, or BTMs for short, all of which are to be in place across Ukraine by January 2018.
But Chobanyan, the co-founder of NGO Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine and the head of KUNA Bitcoin Agency, a firm supporting bitcoin users in Ukraine, won’t reveal the names of the machines’ buyers.
“Money needs silence,” he told the Kyiv Post, adding that the group of business people even purchased all of the BTMs with bitcoins to keep their identities secret.
“Nobody wants to get called out,” Chobanyan said. “It’s now time of trouble (in Ukraine) and nobody wants to show that they have money.”
Chobanyan himself set up the Ukrainian bitcoin exchange, and brought Ukraine’s only currently operating BTM to Odesa in late April. He also opened in Kyiv the first “bitcoin embassy” in the region to promote the virtual currency and support those who want to use it.
Chobanyan’s KUNA Bitcoin Agency will also develop the user interface for the future BTMs in Ukraine.
The bitcoin expert says Ukrainian entrepreneurs want to install the BTMs because of the troubled situation with the Ukrainian banking system, which causes problems for business. Using cryptocurrencies allows business to bypass the traditional banking sector, he said.
“So there is constant demand from entrepreneurs across Ukraine who want to engage in this (cryptocurrency) business.”
The 150 BTMs will be able to support the sale of a range of cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum (or Ether), Waves, Golos and the most famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Ukrainians will be able to exchange digital currencies for Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia.
Currently, the United States has the largest amount of BTMs – 885 out of a total of 1,400 worldwide.
There are, however, around 4,000 conventional ATMs in Ukraine that can sell the digital currency Bitcoin for hryvnias.
The value of one bitcoin today is $3,200 (Hr 83,200). At the beginning of its existence in 2009, one bitcoin was valued at a couple of U.S. cents.
There are no laws in Ukraine that regulate virtual currencies. The National Bank of Ukraine, however, has frowned at cryptocurrencies, dubbing them “a substitute for real money.”
But as there is no official restriction on the use of cryptocurrencies, some Ukrainian companies now accept bitcoins as payment.
The Kyiv Post’s IT coverage is sponsored by Ciklum. The content is independent of the donors.
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