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Scottish Tech Store CeX Drops UK Pound for Bitcoin

| Published on May 13, 2014 at 10:01 BST

Technology exchange and retailer CeX is making waves in the United Kingdom’s bitcoin ecosystem this week, launching a bitcoin-only payments initiative, as well as Scotland's first bitcoin ATM.

CeX has added bitcoin payments to its website, according to a post on the company’s blog yesterday. To commemorate the initiative, the retailer is undertaking a series of projects, which includes the ATM launch at its Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, location.

The ATM, built by Lamassu, will charge 0% commission on bitcoin transactions, well below the rate of other similar machines in the UK, to entice shoppers unfamiliar with the young currency.

A two day-long 'pound-free zone' will also feature at the Glasgow store from 13th to 15th May, whereby customers will only be able to transact in bitcoin when buying or selling their electronics.

Scottish Independence

A CeX representative told CoinDesk that the project is, in spirit, connected to Scotland’s bid for financial and economic independence from the broader United Kingdom, saying:

“The trial is turning the Scottish high street into a bitcoin laboratory, highlighting alternative forms of currency should Scotland vote 'yes' in the forthcoming referendum.”

Eric Benz from the UK Digital Currency Association hailed the store's plan as "forward-thinking", adding that Scotland’s appetite for bitcoin is big and "growing exponentially" everyday.

He also noted that the currency has potential as a highly-political tool:

"Taking a step forward and promoting this incredible new technology would [...] allow Scotland to possibly become one of the leading financial technology countries in the world."

Budding growth for bitcoin

The CeX bitcoin launch represents some of the most significant news for bitcoin to come out of Scotland. However, there have been other bitcoin-related developments in the region that have introduced local residents to the digital currency.

In January, local bistro Brooklyn Cafe, situated in Glasgow’s Shawlands district, announced that it would accept bitcoin as a form of payment. At the time, manager Jonny McDonald told CoinDesk that, while many customers had heard about it, few actually knew how bitcoin worked.

This is a situation that may change: the CeX-hosted bitcoin ATM is Scotland’s first, and will surely act as a centre for bitcoin in the area, raising awareness and accessibility.

Within the UK, CeX's new Lamassu is a new entrant into a fast-growing ATM ecosystem occupied by familiar names like Robocoin.

Image via CeX

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