DED Officials Debunk Bitcoin ATM Speculation in Dubai

Roop Gill
Mar 25, 2014 at 11:23 UTC
Updated Apr 3, 2014 at 17:01 UTC

UAE residents looking forward to an army of bitcoin ATMs being installed in Dubai may be disappointed to find out that it’s not happening … at least for now.

Last week, there was speculation on social media that 400 ATMs had arrived in Dubai. In response to an earlier BitAccess announcement, Sergey Yusupov tweeted a photo of the machines and noted that they would be activated in two weeks.

 

However, the UAE Department of Economic Development (DED) told Emirates 24|7 that Dubai had not given bitcoin ATMs the green light just yet.

“DED has not issued any license relating to bitcoin so far,” said Ahmed Ibrahim, Director of Business Registration at the DED.

The Dubai bitcoin community is active and growing, but there aren’t many places in Dubai where to use the digital currency. In fact, The Pizza Guys is the only merchant accepting bitcoin in the city at the moment. They are also hosting the next meet up on March 31st.

Same same but different

Emirates 24|7 also reported that these kiosks, which were poised to be bitcoin ATMs, were in fact ManGo kiosks, a system to pay bills for local and international services. The touch-screen interface of these machines lets the user pay their bills in just a few touches.

The ManGo design and size is similar to BitAccess ATMs, thus explaining why Yusupov may have confused them for bitcoin ATMs.

But, this doesn’t mean that BitAccess ATMs aren’t coming to Dubai at all. The Ottawa-based company tweeted that they will be putting out news on ATMs in the UAE soon:

However, they are unlikely to send anything close to 400 machines. BitAccess co-founder Abdul Haseeb Awan told CoinDesk that they are only shipping one machine to Dubai.

“Dubai is a 2 million population, how can you fit 400 machines in Dubai? […] We didn’t talk to these guys. We are shipping one machine to dubai, then this guy tweeted at us and that got retweeted again and again and again.”

Dubai Image via Shutterstock

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