UPDATE (11th March, 15:51 GMT): BitVendo’s bitcoin ATM has now been fully installed in GSM Solutions, and is due to launch this Thursday at 10am.
Ireland’s first bitcoin ATM company suffered a setback yesterday as the Bank of Ireland rejected their application for a bank account.
In addition, the Dublin cafe where Ireland’s first ATM was due to be installed pulled out citing “complications” in hosting the machine.
BitVendo, an Irish bitcoin ATM provider, had intended to launch their first ATM at Hippety’s Café this week, but have now relocated to a nearby electronics store GSM Solutions, where they had been testing the machine. BitVendo’s CEO Megan Dolan said:
“We were only informed as we tried to install the machine. We were told staffing became a concern, it came as a massive shock to us, with no prior notice. We think there is a lot more to it, but can’t expand.”
The sudden change of plan came alongside another blow as the Bank of Ireland told BitVendo they would not allow them to open an account. Dolan clarified:
“[The bank] informed me that: ‘Your account application has been rejected due to the nature of your business. We’re not comfortable with it.’”
Up the ladder
Dolan says their business advisor at the Bank of Ireland claimed instructions came from on high.
CoinDesk contacted a representative from the bank, media relations manager Anne Mathews, who stated that the bank would not comment on individual interactions with customers or potential customers, but added:
“It is Bank policy to assess each application on its own merit, taking a number of relevant criteria into account. In situations where we believe the potential customer does not meet the appropriate criteria it is our policy to decline the application.”
Alan Donohoe of the Irish Bitcoin Foundation, who has been working with Dolan, corroborated BitVendo’s version of events, claiming the business advisor said: “The people above me are rejecting the application due to the nature of [the] business.”
Donohoe said it was the first time he had encountered an Irish bank rejecting a business because it was involved with bitcoin and called on Irish banks to embrace, not reject bitcoin:
“We urge banks in Irelands to consider the future and how bitcoin can help the economy. Its not about competing with government currency, its about the technology and how it can spur growth.”
In tweets to BitVendo, the Allied Irish Banks, one of the “big four” in Ireland, said that in contrast to the Bank of Ireland they do allow bitcoin businesses to open accounts:
@BitVendo Hi, AIB does not transact directly in bitcoins as it’s an unregulated currency; however, the bank does accept payments… 1/2
— Ask AIB (@AskAIB) March 10, 2014
@AskAIB Thanks for replying and giving us a straight answer on your position. We will make an application in your Dame St branch tomorrow.
— BitVendo (@BitVendo) March 10, 2014
Dolan confirmed that the company would attempt to open an account with AIB sometime today.
CoinDesk is monitoring this developing story, and will post updates as they become known.
Bank of Ireland image via Shutterstock