BTCPoint Creates 10,000 Bitcoin-Enabled ATMs Using Spanish Bank Network
The development is the result of agreements between BTCPoint, major national bank Banc Sabadell and Hal-Cash that will see the bitcoin service integrating with Banc Sabadell, Banco Popular, Abanca and EVO Bank units.
"Once you send your bitcoin to our address, you’ll receive a text message with a code and with that code you can go to any ATM and receive cash right away," co-founder and COO Alex Lopera explained, adding that customers don't need to have a credit card or account with the banks in order to receive cash.
Though similar to a service offered by Bit2Me, BTCPoint is launching with zero commission. Bit2Me charges a 1% commission per transaction.
The move marks a shift in strategy for BTCPoint, which also manufactures two-way bitcoin ATMs, a process that Lopera described as "painful". BTCPoint has produced roughly 10 units in total.
Lopera told CoinDesk:
"If we wanted to scale and become global, it makes more sense to really go after banks. They already have the infrastructure."
Founded in 2014, BTCPoint was created by a team including Lopera, CEO Borja Rossell; product manager Albert Caus; and CTO Dario Nieuwenhuis, all of whom are from Spain.
The move comes amid a notale shift in the bitcoin ATM space, with major providers voicing that they intend to focus more on software solutions that bring bitcoin to existing machines.
Bridging the gap
To access the service, BTCPoint users enter the amount of money they'd like to withdraw from an ATM using the application and send bitcoin to a company address.
Next, users receive an SMS and a PIN code, input the PIN code into an ATM on the network and withdraw their funds. The service today is one-directional, with users only being able to withdraw cash from units, though Lopera said BTCPoint is working on solutions that diversify its service.
"We are focusing on changing bitcoin into cash, and we’re also talking with different credit card processors, who could enable the buy option so you can buy at a very low fee," he said.
Lopera suggested BTCPoint is in talks with US and Latin American banks as a means to expand its service.
Going forward, BTCPoint aims to deliver on its mission to bridge the gap between physical and digital currency ATMs by building up a remittance network with these tools.
"If you have ATMs that are working with your platform in Mexico, and you have ATMs that are already working in Spain, it’s very easy for you to send money from bitcoin to Mexico," Lopera said as an example of how BTCPoint aims to scale.
Already, the service allows international cell phone users to interact with its service.
"The only thing they need when travelling to Spain is a bitcoin wallet with bitcoins and they'll be able to sell them for cash at any of our affiliated ATMs," Lopera added.
Lopera suggested the service would seek to expand globally so that users in more places can send money with only a mobile phone, concluding: "That’s where we’d like to be a year or two from now."
Image via Shutterstock
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