PayMaQ is pitching its PayBitcoin ATM as a more affordable solution for individuals and small businesses interested in hosting a digital currency exchange point. One unit costs just under €1000 after VAT and shipping, offering a retail cost savings when compared to $5,000 Lamassu units and $20,000 Robocoin machines.
The PayBitcoin ATM is PayMaQ's second model, following in the footsteps of a first version that CEO Luis Borrell acknowledged suffered from limitations, including the need for skilled maintenance on a regular basis.
The company has since turned to the development of a cheaper option that it believes is easier for business owners to maintain.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Borrell explained:
"Nowadays, there are new people who want bitcoins and they need easy and nearby access to bitcoins. PayBitcoin ... is designed for any person who has a store, gym or similar business in which [they] can offer [it] to their customers buying bitcoins at the moment."
The company is funding the project via Indiegogo.
Ease of use
The Bitcoin ATM business model seeks to solve a major barrier for consumers that want to start using bitcoins: acquisition.
As such, Borrell put the emphasis on the ease-of-use of PayMaQ's models:
"This model of ATM can be acquired and operated by any person easily. Logically it has some limitations, but we think it is a good product to extend bitcoin around the world."
Borrell sees the need for a simple way to get bitcoins as part of the process of broader market adoption:
"Traditional banks charge 1-3% fees of every transaction with credit cards. People will be able to pay with bitcoins in any store, restaurant and in any business in general with no commissions or fees."
First, however, customers need an easy method of exchange. And since Internet bitcoin exchanges aren't yet able to provide this service, Borrell believes his units will have a powerful value proposition.
The market for bitcoin ATMs is seeing more competition, including the launch of the Lamassu ATM earlier this year. Competition is also heating up in the UK and Southeast Asia, and with its low price point, PayMaQ could become competitive in the global market.
For Borrell, this means he also has to consider how his company will compete not just now, but down the road:
"We have plans for the near future. We are now developing new solutions for stores, in a way that they will be able to accept payments in bitcoins. We are continuously developing new products."
Part of this process includes the development of security measures for the ATMs. Borrell said that security is important but pointed out that the same risks face consumers who use other currencies as well.
"For PayMaQ, security is very important. But we think that the bitcoin market is not different from the traditional market. We don’t see an extra problem in security – you have to implement security updates continuously. It is a part of our work."
Rising interest in Bitcoin ATMs
Barcelona-based PayMaQ opened its doors in 2005. According to co-founder and Borrell, it originally sold payment systems. After hearing from customers that wanted to deploy ATMs, PayMaQ moved toward developing bitcoin ATMs.
A bitcoin ATM remotely syncs with an online exchange, allowing users to conduct fiat-to-bitcoin or bitcoin-to-fiat transactions and withdrawals without the hassle of creating a personal account and making an in-market purchase and with different levels of know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance.
PayMaQ's models are one directional and offer little in the way of compliance features, meaning operators who are able to cut costs with its units will have additional considerations to make to ensure their lawful use.
Image via PayMaQ